Unraveled Wednesday / The ends

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

I can't even remember the last time I sat down to knit! I'm sure it's only been a few days, but seems like forever. I am still hoping to make a Sleepy Kitten for Jün before Christmas. I want to make another dress for Gin's, too, but the deadline is looser for that.

When I have had a chance to sit & knit lately, it's been for short periods and/or full of distraction, so I've been knitting mindless scrappy color-blocked near-rectangles that will eventually turn into slippers.

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I did finish the Freak Flags!! Those are all the ends... very satisfying. The flags are flying at the shop but, of course, no photo.

READING.

On Deck:

  • I'm not sure, but it's Jólabókaflóð season and I'm participating in the third (I think) swap with some friends, so a new book should be arriving soon! I also had a few books on my Christmas list. I may need something to fill a few days... I suppose I could always slog through a few more pages of Hillbilly Elegy. Nah... more likely, I'll be scrapping that one altogether. I really can't stand it.

Bonus: WATCHING.

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I saw this on Monday night and it's the best movie I've seen in a while... I loved it, and the casting was amazing! I can't wait to watch it again at the Best Picture Festival. Sad & surprising & funny & desperate & sweet.

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It's that time of year! Thanks for all the Instagram 

Vicki

I love this! My Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic, a sweet little dress knit for Gin, Arrows shawl, a still unfinished AC Factory Tunic, Spicey(!) and some of the fam, Maddy in her new Oblique cardigan (finished 09/2017), me modeling the all-but-finished Oblique cardigan (started 12/2007), Gin wearing one of my oldest surviving knitting projects (ca. 1983), and a very happy Colorwash Scarf.

Maddy is bringing Oblique home with her today and I'll give her a lesson in washing/blocking. She loves & wears it so much that she wants to take it with her to NZ, but needs to know how to properly care for it! I am very happy and also quite flattered, knowing how much real estate a nice roomy wool cardigan occupies inside a suitcase/backpack (but also squishy, so there's that) (and I guess it's likely that she'll wear & not pack it!).  ;)

 


It's beginning to look a lot like...

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Christmas! That's a main intersection on "The Avenue of Angels." It's not quite the one I remember from childhood, but it's way better than the "Avenue by Candlelight" that took over for a few years when the original angels were no longer usable.

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I took that quick snap on Friday night when we were on our way to the first real holiday party of the season -- most of the gang pictured above! I loved the silhouette.

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We brought the tree up from the basement on Sunday morning. I have one string to replace in readiness for a family decorating party on Tuesday night with the whole gang.

Heads up: the Snowfall Beanie by Benjamin Matthews caught my eye, and is a free Ravelry download until tomorrow 12/12). It's a nicely textured hat knit with bulky yarn... in case you're looking for something like that!


Ready, Set, OPEN!!

It's been a mad house the past couple of days, and all hands were on deck last night to prepare -- clean, arrange, organize, decorate, and set up.

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This morning was the reopening of Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, aka KC&T ("Like" on Facebook, if you'd like), following a two-week closure for extensive systems/operations upgrades and remodel! It's a little retro and a little modern, and 1000 times better in every way.

The contractor was already there this morning when I stopped on my way to work, and the electrician (my coworker) popped up from behind the counter, as both were doing some final touch-ups & connections.

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Ali is super happy to have a dedicated kid-friendly nook.

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And to finally use some "collage" resin-topped tables that she'd made quite a long time ago.

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I'm off to a holiday party this evening. I'm hoping to get my tree up this weekend; if not this weekend, then next; and I would still be "on time" if it was the weekend after that! Let's hope it doesn't come to that... Jün was showing me the ornaments on their tree last night, and was a little concerned that I didn't yet have a tree at my house! He told me all about where they got theirs and that I could "get one on Sunday." So cute.

Also, in the random Dept. of Cute:

  • Jün was very excitedly telling me about Santa Claus' brother the other night when they were over, and it took me a few times to realize that he was talking about St. Nick!!
  • He sometimes called Ginny "Sister"
  • And now also "Honey." ❤️

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Check it out! There's a brand new deal on Craftsy each day during The Twelve Days of Craftsy -- now through December 12th!


Wrap it up - the Alabama lowdown

For over a year, I waited -- anticipated -- attending the Alabama Chanin 3-Day Workshop in November. I'd signed up almost immediately when it was announced, and it wasn't long before Kym decided to join me.

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We met at the airport in Nashville and drove to Florence, AL, home of Alabama Chanin.

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We settled into our comfy Airbnb, found a place for dinner, and awaited Workshop Day #1.

It was pretty great. Each of the participants (9 of us) had our own work table with basic supplies and materials. The clothing racks beyond held simple, unembellished examples of every DIY garment in every size for trying on. I was a bit smitten with the collection of chairs -- those shown here, as well as throughout The Factory & Cafe -- as I've been something of a collector myself (to the point that Rusty called a moratorium on chairs some years ago)!

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In addition, there were other garment racks, which I've shown before, that held embellished pieces in various colors & designs, which we could also try on.

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"The Factory" is just that. Located in a large factory/warehouse type building, one very large space is divvied up with partial walls/partitions and curtains into spaces for retail, cafe, office, shipping, social media, design, fabric handling, stenciling, cutting, sewing, production, etc. Pretty much everyone, perhaps with the exception of some cafe staff, is at least knowledgeable -- but most likely has also performed -- every process/task/job within the company. It's pretty incredible, really. Natalie Chanin has employed some of the principles of Zingerman's Community of Businesses in the development of her own Alabama Chanin Family of Businesses, which include The School of Making, The Factory Cafe and Store, and Bldg. 14.

I could go to work in that factory everyday!

On that first day, we went over design possibilities, toured the factory, tried on garments, pored over swatch books, and each made decisions about the garment we wanted to make.

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I chose the Car Jacket, with the June's Spring stencil design.

We also had lunch at the Factory Cafe.

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I just had to have a Pimento Cheese sandwich!

And then I took about a million pictures of the June's Spring section of the swatch books!

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Those are all the same design, worked in different colors and in different/similar ways... all serving to blow my mind!

And then I took about a million more pictures of the exact same thing.

And also the next day. And again the day after that.

I could have spent three full days just looking at those swatch books, to be honest.

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I mean, look at that!!

With our orders being processed, we had a little free time before meeting up with the other participants for a local tour and dinner. Kym and I decided we had just enough time to dash out for a visit to The Wall, aka, Tom Hendrix's Wall, aka Te-lah-nay's Wall.

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It's an incredible place, with an incredible story.

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Peaceful, beautiful, contemplative, surprising.

We could have spent a lot more time there, too, but I'm thankful we were able to find the time to visit at all. We went back to Florence and met our group at The Shoals Gold Record Room to board a trolley and go on a Swampette Tour of FAME and Muscle Shoals studios.

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I had been looking forward to that for a while, having even made a special playlist way back in August, and it was truly fantastic -- everyone enjoyed it and most weren't music nerds! Our tour guide was Judy Hood, a Swampette by virtue of having married one David Hood, bass player and original member of The Swampers, and true enthusiast of music*, the history of the music and these studios in The Shoals, community, preservation, and more. She was a delight!

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Workshop Days 2 & 3 were spent exploring and learning more about garment construction and techniques. We had some lovely meals at The Factory Cafe (breakfast+lunch, brunch), and met Natalie; we had front-row seats at a talk/presentation she gave about the company's history. Everyone we met during the workshop was really wonderful -- Olivia, Maggie, Erin, Corey, Leslie, Bonnie, Diane (to name a few). Oh, to return someday... I still dream about the week-long workshops (either one, or both)!

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On Sunday, Kym & I drove back to Nashville and another lovely Airbnb, first stopping to take photos of a cotton field. I had never seen anything like it before, though, if you cover the bottom part of that photo with your hand, it looks an awful lot like the snow-covered farm fields with which I am familiar!

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We stopped at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens on the way for a much-needed walk & nature break, and it was simply gorgeous.

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I was more than a little intrigued by at least parts of these pique assiette mosaic pieces (the term for which I learned just now -- who knew?).

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It was certainly not the most beautiful time of year to visit a garden, but it was far from ugly; I don't think there's ever an "ugly" season in a well-designed garden. They were just beginning to ready their holiday displays, so we even got a little peek at some of the lighted garden features (which were pretty cool even in afternoon light).

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I winged my way home and have barely had a chance to catch my breath since... Ali's shop remodel started the very next day, I'm trying to help with the kids as much as I can, Thanksgiving came & went, there was an ill-timed but previously planned (and much enjoyed) trip to Saint Louis, holiday party season is upon us, and Christmas is... what? 18 days away? Will I get my tree up???

I truly enjoyed every minute of that trip. I caught my breath only once at the beginning, when I realized that I'd be spending nearly a week with a woman that I'd previously met for lunch and a beer and to look at some art for a couple of hours, but we couldn't have gotten along better, and it was fun getting to know more about each other.

I've barely had time to even look at my Car Jacket project... ideas are percolating, and it'll be there when I'm ready!

*except rap. She told us that Dr. Dre/Beats Electronics is a supporter of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation and that, as a grateful member of the board, she supposed she should learn to like it! More than a few of us suggested that Hamilton would be a good place to start!  ;)


Dear December,

Baby, it's SO COLD outside!!

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It's December, and it should be cold... but all of a sudden?! From 58°F one day to 22°F the next -- which also happens to be Christmas Parade Day -- is brutal, and leaves zero time to acclimate!

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We did our best & bundled up good! Jün wore pants, snowpants, jacket, hood, two hats, his gloves + a pair of mine, boots, and was all wrapped up in my Parcheesi blanket besides (wool FTW!). We were lucky that we could sneak into the coffee shop for a real warm-up. The shop wasn't open, of course, but Amanda & Alex were stationed out front with free hot chocolate (aka, hand-warmers) for all. I was really lukewarm about even going to the parade, but Jün had so much fun and is so excited about everything! I'm glad I did.

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Speaking of the shop, the photo above was taken yesterday on my way to work. Casework will be installed over the next couple of days, and Ali & Rusty both just sent me a snaps as replacement of the entire front window/door situation has begun! Energy-efficient, less-likely-to-fog-up thermopanes, baby! Rusty added, "...and about 10 other things going on at once!" Final inspections are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, with official reopening at 6:30 am Friday; unofficially, we're planning Knit Night as a "soft opening" tomorrow, hopefully helping everyone get used to all that's new (which is pretty much everything)!

I'm still "processing" St. Louis! We did a lot -- an art opening, a few museums, the botanical garden, a historic site, terrific food & drink, we even went to the movies -- but not at the crazy pace of our last visit. Our Airbnb was wonderful -- one of the best so far!

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I did a fair bit of knitting while we were away, mostly in the car, and all but finished my Freak Flags. I wanted to do the last one in a color that I didn't have with me, so finished up that project on Monday night, and soaked & pinned it out last night.

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In other knitting news, I gave away my Arrows shawl! My friend recently admired it, exclaiming that it's exactly the kind of scarf she needs because it goes with everything. I told her that I'd knit one for her, though probably wouldn't get started until after Christmas. Then I decided that I should just give her the one I've already made. I think it was Mason-Dixon Kay who shared a story once about a woman who would give away her knitting to admirers... and while I'm not going to go that far, I'm so glad I gave this to my friend. I brought it last week when we met for a drink, and her excitement was all the thanks I needed. She's been wearing it a lot, so I get to see it often!

Now I'm working on some scrappy slippers that I'd started months ago! I might try to knit a pair for each of the girls before Christmas... it's all about the scrappy projects lately!

It looks as though I'm going to fall short of my 2017 reading goal by a few books, but guess what!? I finally finished Yellow Crocus! I really enjoyed the story and, of course, Bahni Turpin's reading. The story continues in the recently released Mustard Seed, which is in my queue. I am closing in on Population 485 / Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, and find that I am almost purposefully going slow with this one... And You Don't Have to Say You Love Me has finally been downloaded and is ready to go!

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This Spotify 2017 Wrapped popped up in my feed yesterday and I can't help myself! You can check your stats, too! It's kind of fun. I had just been telling Kate that I often ease into my day listening to Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, and I was speaking truth!

One of the things I like about this wrap up is that it generated lists of my "Top Songs of 2017" and "The Ones That Got Away" -- songs that I'd probably like, based on what I already listen to.

OK, well, there's all the chitchat and busy stuff distracting me from brass tacks. Christmas is coming!! I've been pretty OK with the shopping/presents. Where things are just not happening is at home... the tree is still in the basement, ornaments & decorations are still upstairs. Stuff from the shop is everywhere -- mingled with stuff from Alabama and the stuff that was already all over the place before Alabama.

Maybe this weekend? I have to get this place in shape for the holidays and for visitors and for Maddy!

Deep breaths. It'll all come together... let it all come together!

Love, Vicki


Right Now - December

Anticipating... a fun, long(er)(than last time) weekend in St. Louis with Kate! As you read this, we are on our way... returning some artwork, taking in an opening or two, and finding some good food, drinks & music. St. Louis will be all decked out for the holidays, and that ought to be fun, too!

Cooking/Eating... Is it too late to write about Thanksgiving? We had a really nice day. Maddy & Kate arrived around noon, and Ali with the kids shortly after. We all busied ourselves with various things & playing & cooking; then Rusty, Kate & Maddy decided to take the kids for a walk/to the park so that Ali could take a little nap! (There's been so much going on in her life!) Ali & kids joined Rod's family for dinner in the early evening, so there were only four around our table.

The menu was just right:

  • Spatchcocked Turkey
  • Green Bean Casserole w/Crispy Shallots (from scratch)
  • Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Make-Ahead Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie w/freshly Whipped Cream

The green beans could have been just a bit more tender and the sauce a wee thicker, but otherwise that casserole was delicious (and the reheated leftovers were perfect). The Make-Ahead Gravy was fantastic, but it sure makes a lot! The cranberry sauce was the best I've had (inadvertently simmering for about twice the called-for time may be one reason why). Also, Rusty added a bit of coconut oil to the pie crust (because he thought he was out of Crisco), and was it ever good -- the texture was nice & crisp. I'm not sure what his ratio was, but I hope he remembers...

I made Turkey Soup on Sunday -- and loved the Make-Ahead Gravy method for making stock so much that I did it again for the soup. I think it was the best, most flavorful pot of turkey soup I've ever made. Delicious!!

Also, I'd finally reached my −20 lb. goal at Weight Watchers the Monday before Thanksgiving -- which has been so slow in coming that I'd actually set Jan. 1st (one year) as my deadline; and I made it through the holiday weekend with neither loss nor gain, and that is most certainly a WIN! Now to keep that momentum going...

Excited about... Maddy's return to New Zealand! She's been hired full-time for the vintage, and will be there from January to May.

Happy... that Christmas shopping/gifting is coming together nicely this year.

Listening... Leslie Odom Jr. / Simply Christmas - Deluxe Edition! It was my favorite last year, and I think it will be this year, too.

Looking forward to... Replacing some elderly computers. Orders have been placed, stuff is on the way. Now, if I could only get by on 3 hours of sleep... or add 8 hours to my day!

Organizing... All the Make.Do stuff from the shop!!

Planning... Christmas. We're thinking Cornish hens for dinner, and...

Sewing... Barely a stitch since returning from Alabama!!

Watching... Godless on Netflix. Actually, we've finished... but I think I might watch it again!

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


FO: Abulón Cowl / 30

There's an FO!

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  • Ravelry Project Page: Abulón Cowl
  • Pattern: Abulón by Isabell Kraemer from the Stillness Collection
  • Yarn: Make.Do Realize Sport
  • Needles:  5 US
  • Start to Finish:  October 28-November 19, 2017
  • Mods:  I knit as written except FLAT (because  LONG STRAIGHT NEEDLES), then mattress stitched the seams. I bound off so that some of the contrasting edge showed (also, if I remember correctly, I think I ran out of the multi-colored yarn and had to improvise the ending).

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I'm fiddling with it a bit in that first photo because it's just a bit bigger/drapier than I like my cowls to be.

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So my photographer (thanks Kate!) & I tried a different arrangement. I'm not sure I like this, either, it looks like a bib or something... maybe it needs a pin. I need to play around!

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One thing you can't argue about is the beauty of that stitch pattern; combined with an eye-catching backing layer, it is next-level!

By the way, I first noticed that stitch pattern, sans background, in Melanie Berg's Open Waters Shawl and Cowl, published in Making No. 2 / Fauna. I am going to knit that shawl someday! Gorgeous!!

Anyway, I toyed with the idea of casting on another of these cowls with fewer repeats, but there's too much other stuff happening right now. One more look...

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And that wraps up another NaBloPoMo! It's been a fun month blogging and reading. Thanks for being part of it all!

 


Ch-Ch-Ch-CHANGES!! Progress Report / 29

It's been almost two weeks since the remodeling project got underway, and a week today since the shop was closed!

Since then, the Coffee Camper has been set up right outside, and it sure is adorable.

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Offerings & hours are very limited, and there's no place to sit (it's chilly, besides), but the tavern owner next door has opened his doors wide and welcomes the morning kaffeeklatsch!

 my little city!

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The plumbers have been first on the scene, arriving as I stop each morning for my tea; the lights have been on and I snapped a few photos.

Yesterday:

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This morning:

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The two new bathrooms are at back right, and the doors (leaning on the wall toward the front yesterday) installed. There's a hole in the wall to the left of the window in back for the relocated air conditioner. The new kitchen area is being framed in & dry-walled, and the space between the new bathrooms & kitchen will be a dedicated kids' nook. The cement block has all been plastered over, and looks fantastic!

There is so much more to come: tiling, decorative plastering, painting, casework, ceiling & lighting!! Keep your fingers crossed and good juju flowing for a fabulous on-budget finish in little more than a week!

Also, it's UNRAVELED WEDNESDAY!

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

Another Sleepy Kitten will be on the needles before long, but currently...

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I am all about the Freak Flags!! I am currently on Flag #8. Potato chip knitting... super fun and I can't wait to deck out the reopened shop with them.

READING. If you can believe it: 

(Still)(Still) On Deck:


7-Year Itch / 28

Happy 7th Birthday Parcheesi!

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My annual thanks to Feral Knitter Janine Bajus for sharing this great pattern! It is available as a free Ravelry download, with a request/in exchange for a donation of any size to Heifer International.

BTW, today is a FANTASTIC DAY

to MAKE A DONATION

as it's GIVING TUESDAY

and EVERY GIFT IS MATCHED!

 

This blanket remains my favorite knitting project! It is used and cherished as much today as ever.

The itchy part? Well, I have recently been reading about the Fringe & Friends Logalong...


La Freak / 27

I was taking photos of Freak Flags yesterday when I heard the geese and looked up...

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...all (almost) TWO of them!

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I am loving the textures!

The bucket o' yarn that I used for knitting Arrows was still handy, so I'm pulling from that (stash-busting!). I used my Embellish-Knit machine to make the I-cord tie, which worked out great. (That's one of the best investments ever... I also made a handy I-cord string for a pair of Jün's mittens.)

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After a few hours of more-exciting-than-expected football knitting last night, I finished the second flag... and the third, and the fourth, and have begun the fifth! Potato chip knitting at its finest!!

Freak Flags is one of the patterns by Cecelia Campochiaro in Mason Dixon Field Guide No. 5: Sequences -- all of the patterns are on my short list! So interesting. There are still a few copies of Sequences (and more!) available, now 15% off & $5 flat shipping -- email me at makedotdo@gmail.com


The light / 26

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We haven't put up the tree yet, but we did bring up the array of lights for the front door. I prefer the older style of lights over the LED, but can't argue with efficiency and they don't heat up at all, so they're on 24/7 until we take them down sometime closer to spring. Anyway, I bought a new -- simple, minimal -- wreath. It needs a longer hanger, and might yet be moved to the back door, but I like it!

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Had I been thinking, this would have been a video complete with the sound of honking geese. That's what made me look up, in the first place (I was outside taking photos of some knitting!) (not a kitten!) and then I noticed the glow of light in the leaves -- it's so weird how there are random trees with leaves still hanging on. There's a maple in front of the neighbor's, and a few oaks in the ravine, too. 


The Cray Continues / 25

I wasn't intending to post the play-by-play as I finished this sleepy little kitty...

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...but here we are! I lengthened the dress and added eyes & mouth; nose & whiskers are still needed... looking for the perfect pink.

Meanwhile, Junah (along with Ali, Gin & I) attended his first open house at the local model railroad club. They have a pretty sweet set up in an old radio station -- trains on two levels, and even movable bridges that allow them to run through all of the rooms.

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Crazy Cat Lady / 24

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Um, can I knit little dresses for little knitted kittens for the rest of my life?! Haha.

This sleepy kitty still needs a face, and this dress is more like a top (oops! I will be fixing forthwith), but OMG how adorable is that?? 


Thanksgiving 3TT / 23

Thanksgiving-2017

Kids, woods, family, thankful.

I am thankful for my husband! He made pies this morning, carved the turkey this evening, and is doing clean up!

I am thankful for my daughters! Maddy & Kate, along with Rusty, took the kids on a walk in the woods this afternoon so that Ali could take a nap!

I am thankful for my grandkids! They are more delightful every single day... and come March, they'll welcome a sibling!!

There is so much to be grateful for, but nothing tops this. Happy Thanksgiving!


Unraveled Wednesday / 22

KNITTING.

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Currently on my needles is a Sleepy Kitten! On my list since I first cracked Making No. 4 / Lines, I started on Sunday. This is where I stopped last night, and will be knitting in the arms when I pick it up again tonight. I've had more than my share of false starts when it comes to knitting toys -- the fiddly bits aren't so bad, but the SEWING UP is where I lose it. Susan B. Anderson designed these kittens in such a way that the fiddly bits are knitted in as you go... brilliant!

(Abulón Cowl is finished, awaiting glamour shot... in daylight!)

READING. Here's what's on my list right now:

  • Population 485 / Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time - pages. I am re-reading this oft-recommended long-time favorite memoir set in New Auburn, WI. Author Michael Perry is also a cast member in the stage adaptation of his book, and we have tickets to a January performance in Oshkosh! I've been wanting to pick it up again for a long time, now, and there could hardly be a better reason.
  • Yellow Crocus - audio. If all goes well, I may finish today!

(Still) On Deck:

COOKING.

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My house smelled amazing last night! I'd never heard of Make-Ahead Gravy until Carole posted about it the other day. Personally, I prefer butter on my potatoes, but Rusty loves gravy, so I thought I'd give it a try this year. So far, so good! Also, pork chops and zoodles w/fire-roasted tomatoes was what's for dinner.

Check out Kat for more Unraveled Wednesday...


Shameless / 21

As you know, the exciting & long-awaited remodel of KC&T and Make.Do @ KC&T is underway! We can't wait for the reopening and are so excited about all of the updates & improvements!

As exciting as that is, it also means that the shop is closed until approx. December 7th! The KC&T Coffee Camper will be out front every morning 6:30-11am during the closure, with limited menu/merchandise, but we're missing a couple of important holiday shopping weeks, including Small Business Saturday!

In an effort to salvage a bit of the season, selected Make.Do merchandise is... KCT Coffee Camper15% off + $5 flat-rate shipping*

ONLINE ORDERS/U.S. SHIPPING ONLY thru 12/7/17

(*free local pick up can be arranged!)

Fringe Knitting Necessities

KNITTING NECESSITIES - The newest tote bag from Fringe Supply! $20

2018 Wall Calendar

2018 Wall Calendar, featuring a year of illustrated sheep & natural dye plants (they're gorgeous!), from making. $26

MDK Field Guide 5 Sequences

Field Guide No. 5 - SEQUENCES, brand new from Mason-Dixon Knitting. $14.95

MDK Field Guide 1 Stripes
MDK Field Guide 1 Stripes
MDK Field Guide 1 Stripes
MDK Field Guide 1 Stripes

Also: Field Guides No. 1 - STRIPESNo. 2 - FAIR ISLENo. 3 - WILD YARNS, and No. 4 - LOG CABIN. $14.95 each

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Making No. 4 / LINES. $24

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Also: No. 3 / DOTS, $24
No. 2 / FAUNA and No. 1 / FLORA, $20 each

ALL QUANTITIES LIMITED

 Email makedotdo@gmail.com with your desires! Thank you!!


Weekending / 20

As mentioned yesterday, I did a little cleaning & organizing. I identified two specific areas in desperate need of attention.

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This is a lovely old but rickety bamboo shelf unit in a corner of the kitchen that used to see a bit more action because it's where the phone is located. You can see a couple of phone books; they've never been cracked, so they're now in Recycling. There's also a personalized Phone List, which I had on the computer and used to updated on the regular, but it's been YEARS, so also recycled. Pens, pencils, paper, calendars, recipes, a few (ahem) greeting cards, cycling stuff.

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It's not perfect, but it's better. I added a LOT to the recycling bin yesterday. The phone is still "located" here, but it's unplugged more often than not. The only reason it's still on the wall is because it would leave a mark if removed, and I'm not prepared to deal with that right now. Because of "bundling," it's cheaper to have the phone than not... it's probably even cheaper if I added cable TV back in... but all I really want is internet. The phone drives me nuts, even with Nomorobo activated, and it makes me feel ill when I think about surfing through all those cable channels that I don't care about; it's been 6 or 7 years since I cut that cord, and I don't miss it a bit.

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This is an old drop-leaf table that Rusty had when we got married. It's located just kitty-corner from the shelf above. It usually starts out with some sort of display, but quickly becomes a catch-all!

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I even found some Christmas stuff (from the contingent in Spain) from last year!

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I finished seaming my Abulón cowl at Knit Night on Thursday, and gave it a soak yesterday. It was on our bed to dry, but it's going to take a while, so moved it to the upstairs bedroom. Maybe a Unraveled Wednesday debut??

How was your weekend?


Give us our daily bread / 19

With grape jelly, or maybe with an egg and a strip of bacon.

I'm doing a little cleaning & organizing today, and in doing so I ran across this:

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An artistic collaboration between Rusty ("Grape Jelly," top) & Ali ("Afternoon Breakfast," below) -- her piece is dated 1998, so she'd have been around 10-11. I'm not sure how it came about, or whether both pieces were done at the same time. Ali, in particular, used to charmingly reproduce some of her dad's work; this is a little different, though.

Anyway, I've removed a picture that wasn't sparking joy anymore, rearranged a few things & repositioned a nail, and now I'm much happier with my current kitchen decor.


/ 18

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Except for picking up & pitching walnuts with the kids -- something that happened again today with Jün -- my yard/garden clean up has been pretty slack this year. I don't mind that, sometimes, and perhaps soon there'll be some snow atop this spent hydrangea. (It was so cold today that there could have been snow!)


In a Bubble / 17

I know that Thanksgiving is less than a week away.

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And Christmas fast approaching.

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I've watched since the trimmings of the season began edging out school supplies.

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And yet, I'm constantly doing a double-take when I see actual lights, decorations & full-on displays. I'm not ready for all the holiday hubbub.

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I feel as though I'm in a bit of a bubble... an Alabama bubble!

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Happy much? (Thanks for the photo, Kym!)

There's so much other stuff going on, even besides the holidays... but all I really want to do is clear off my work table and start sewing!

I would begin with an intense poring-over of Natalie Chanin's new book, The Geometry of Hand-Sewing, which I haven't had time to do yet, though I have been using it with great success to practice my "feather stitch" technique on my sampler.

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I'd pre-ordered my copy and picked it up at the workshop. We met with Natalie on Saturday, and she signed it for me... with a little laugh!

It's an incredible book with detailed instructions for working the stitches from either left-to-right or right-to-left, photos & diagrams --  including photos of the back of the work! -- and two die-cut plastic stitching cards/templates with various grids. Genius.

Though my Grandma Koenig had passed long before I picked up a needle, my mother would channel her, always asking to see the back of my project, intoning, "The back should be as neat as the front!"

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They practice what they preach over there at Alabama Chanin! Those are shots of the back & front of approximately the same area of a piece from a sample book.

If you're interested in learning more about this type of work, Natalie & The School of Making have a new class on Craftsy (with, I'm told, more to come!) -- The Swing Skirt: Techniques & Construction.


Ch-Ch-Ch-CHANGES!! / 15

We interrupt this broadcast with breaking news of the happiest sort:

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The long-awaited remodel at KC&T is underway as of today. Re-entry is a bitch -- a bit more than usual -- but this certainly makes up for that!

Also, I have my Alabama Chanin sample swatch with me today and it makes me happy to think of it, look at it, touch it, and dream about it. I might carry it with me for the rest of my life.


Homeward bound / 14

Boarding a plane late this morning, arriving home sometime this evening.

We had an incredibly low-key & relaxing day in Nashville yesterday, mostly hanging out at our Airbnb house. We did venture out for lunch and to visit a couple of fabric stores, on a quest for some marking tools.

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We also stopped at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and I don't need to wonder what the fuss is about anymore. That's Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso. Yum.


Reality creep / 12

I got up this morning and did payroll for Ali -- to Wisconsin, from Alabama...

I packed up my stuff and wondered why in the world I didn't have my project kit & a few other Alabama Chanin incidentals shipped...

My suitcase has been expanded and is at capacity!

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We (Kim) drove to Nashville (I am Navigation!) and Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. We had a very nice walk through the Seasons, Herb, and Japanese Gardens, as well as a little hike through some of the Sculpture Trail.

There was a lovely exhibition on the sculpture work of William Edmondson, and of Bryant Fleming who designed the estate.

Posting this at nearly the 12th hour and internet is not so great... more later!


/ 11

This how my worktable looked at the beginning of Friday:

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Fairly neat and orderly.

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My project kit was the last to arrive, partly because I chose an obscure paint color for my stencil, but mostly because the Production Team at Alabama Chanin made sure it was perfect before presenting it to me; in particular, Corey, who mixed the paint and did the stenciling, worked the most amazing magic!

Inspiration is everywhere at Alabama Chanin, from the iconic sign...

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...to the bathroom decor.

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By the end of the day, my worktable looked like this (the neatened up version):

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I am working out a few things on a swatch that is in my actual pattern & colors.

Tomorrow is another day -- sadly, the last workshop day! The time is flying by and we are having a wonderful time!


Daily view / 9

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I'm not at work today, I'm in ALABAMA! If I were at work, though, this is what I'd have seen about half-way. Actually, I doctored this photo a bit -- removed a few signs and a couple of cars -- so this is what I'd liked to have seen about half-way, everyday. This was on Monday, the sky was so pretty and there was daylight due to the clocks "falling back" on Sunday morning.

The County garage and landfill are on the right -- ho-hum.

There's always something about those three trees on the left, though, whether I'm coming or going. They're oaks, I think, and suffered some storm damage a couple of years ago -- they were prettier once! I almost always see wildlife in the field beyond -- usually, turkeys and/or a small herd of deer. I look forward to this little stretch during every commute.

*Scheduling this in advance in case I'm too caught up in Alabama Chanin things to post!


Catch & Release: The Wisconsin Blingfish / 8

As this goes live, I'm winging my way to meet Kym in Nashville! We will hop into a rented car and drive to Florence, Alabama, for a long-anticipated 3-Day Workshop at Alabama Chanin! We've been planning this trip for well over a year, and... SO EXCITED!

I've been on my Alabama Chanin journey for a while now, and thought today would be a good time to share the story of one of my recent (unusual and crazy-fun) projects:

THE WISCONSIN BLINGFISH

Kay Gardiner, aka Mason-Dixon Kay, began working on her "newest oldest" sewing project, the Alabama Chanin Flag Quilt, on July 4th. It's a spectacular piece! It's also a bit overwhelming, even as a pre-cut and pre-stenciled kit.

After a week of immersion sewing, Kay was considering ideas to infuse her quilt with some personal style... by changing some of the thread & fabric colors, by adding embellishments, and by somehow involving friends.

I've "known" Kay for about as long as we've all been blogging. We met in person at Rhinebeck 2006, I think, and then again 10 years later. In between, we've chatted a little bit via Instagram & blog comments about knitting, of course, also about other projects & the kids & family & events, and quite a bit about Alabama Chanin projects these past few years. I was delighted when she asked if I'd be game to stitch a block of her quilt.

Um, YEAH!!

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She sent her "Wisconsin Fish," along with a spool of thread, and a small bag of iridescent semi-dimensional sequins marked "bling (optional)" -- which, HELLO, were never considered "optional" for even a second.

BRING THE BLING!

I immediately pulled out my own collection of sparkles to see how it all might work together -- adding a variety of seed beads, bugle beads, and more sequins to the mix!

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SEQUINS THIS WAY?

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SEQUINS THAT WAY?

Everything was kept quite secure with Wonder Clips, of course!

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THE PLAN FOR BUGLE BEADS WAS IMMEDIATELY CLEAR.

Eventually I did a little sewing. And some cutting... periodically laying out beads & sequins to see if I still liked them this way, that way, or another way.

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My daughter Kate was starting her new job at the time, but frequently stopping home, and every time I'd call out, "Come and see my fish!" I'd show her what I'd done and run through ideas...

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I started off with mostly reverse applique, running stitch, knots on the back; with some beading and a little bit of satin stitch with embroidery floss. (FYI: satin stitch is harder than it looks!)

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The sequins, though! It was obvious to me that they needed to be fish scales... but how? My only experience with sequins was on my Catamount Tunic, and the inspiration for that project made it pretty simple & straightforward.

Obviously, I needed to expand my sequins knowledge, and my treasure trove of sequins inspo for this project turned out to be "sewing for belly dancers."

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I used a combo of sequins and sewed them on in rows to make scales.

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Initially, the rows were too far apart, so I filled in, and continued in a more dense pattern. I'm sure that looks tedious to some, but I really had fun doing it! Perhaps, as Kay says, we "have a skewed sense of what is fun..."

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It was fun to figure out the little details as I went along... filling in bare "scale" spots with plain sequins; using red beads for the eye, outlining it with some metallic thread. I love the dimension and bit of sparkle and shine.

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I wanted some "lines" for the fish tail, so pulled out some more embroidery floss and sewed in some random sequins.

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I used only sequins -- fairly sparse -- for the belly (just beginning, above).

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I stitched "lines," too, for some of the other fins -- with and without sequins.

I had originally thought of using the metallic thread to work satin stitch the dorsal, pelvic & anal fins (*bling*)...

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... but holy cow, each of those things separately -- satin stitch & working with metallic thread -- is challenging enough! Instead, I used the metallic thread to back-stitch the outlines of the fins and sparsely fill in with running stitch.

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Finally, I signed my work.

Then I had to photograph it and send it back to Kay!

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Catch & Release... The One That Got Away... Some Fish... the Wisconsin Blingfish!!

I can't wait to see the whole quilt come together!!


New Fridge / 7

Junah was, like, "WHAT?? A new FRIDGE?" They loved checking it out last night! Hopefully, the enchantment with the freezer will wear off, or potential energy savings will surely be offset.

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We are loving those French doors and everything in the fridge at eye level! The lighting is pretty great, and I'm also a fan of the glass shelving. There is certainly some rearranging to be done, but we're getting there.

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It's a Samsung. A little narrower than our old one, and a few inches deeper -- these offset and there is no perceived change. I was worried that our already narrow gateway to the laundry room would be affected. I think the very slight curve of the fridge helps, too.

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Side views: from the sink area (above) and laundry room (below).

We removed a cabinet above the fridge as a precaution -- we knew it was going to be super close, and it was the only variable over which we had any control. Trying to find a fridge to fit our area/specs has not been easy. So, anyway, it will be replaced -- new & improved, for sure -- and Rusty might even get started on that this weekend.

The old fridge was plastered all over with magnets, photos & clippings. I tossed a bunch of it, filed a few things, and rearranged as I redecorated. So far, I've kept the front of the new fridge clutter-free and am aiming to keep it that way!

What made the cut?

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This is the most visible side, other than the front. These things all spark joy!! I have some travel reminders, and some adorable drawings of Mack's that my sis had made into magnets; the hummingbird was Sharon's, and the vintage fruit & veggie magnets were my grandma's; I love my photo calendar and am looking forward to making a new one for 2018! This one is from Parabo Press, and I love that the pages are perforated, so I can tear off and keep the photos! I'm not an affiliate, but I do have a link to share that will save you $10 on your first order and earn me $10 -- just use the code AHMKGG! You can order online, or... there's an app for that!

There's been an addition since I took the photo:

Hamilton-magnet(So freakin' good.)

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On the other side, more joy! More travel, more politics, more flowers, and more photos -- and I want even more photos, but most of what had been displayed was decidedly dated (not in a good way) and in need of editing.

This is a work in progress!  ;)