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18 posts from June 2011

30 June 2011

How green was my month?

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1. Kick-ass yarn with kitty, 2. Hosta Elegans, 3. Square in hosta, 4. I love this so much, 5. Three, three, three months in one!, 6. Noddy, 7. Green squares on blue chair, 8. Garden phlox, 9. Green on green, 10. All over 'cept for buttons, 11. Roasted Asparagus, 12. PS Salad, 13. PS June Project Sweater, 14. Green, 15. Not Indian Paintbrush, 16. Kick-ass chartreuse, 17. Kick-ass green & blue, 18. My green CHIBI, 19. Untitled, 20. Sugar snap peas, 21. Baby tomato, 22. As goes the rose..., 23. Week 3, 24. Garlic scapes, 25. IMG_7700

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I've been goofing around way too much with the edging of this shawl. I'd hoped to be finished with the knitting by the end of the month, but I'll be happy with doing it by the end of the holiday weekend (which, for me, includes Tuesday).

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It is Kirsten's Cerasifera and I'm using some Sundara Sock that I received in a swap almost a year and a half ago. I knew right away that I'd be knitting a shawl with it, I just didn't know which one (or exactly when). I saw Kerstin's pattern, bought it, and cast on immediately -- that was on June 20th; I'm playing around, mainly because I have the yardage, but it's messy. Heh.

 

28 June 2011

How green is my sweater?

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It'll qualify for "green" month, right?

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I tried all sorts of buttons in all different colors... it just had to be orange! I love this vibrant, colorful, little sweater. I’m so happy with the even color distribution throughout the body. The slip-stitch pattern gives the sweater just the right amount of texture and makes it pop all over without getting too nuts.

The pattern is "Boy-O-Boy," found in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.

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The yarn is Knit Picks Bare Superwash Merino (worsted weight) that I dyed earlier this month for Project Spectrum/June=Green on a size 8 (US) needle.

I ran out of yarn. I had enough of the Superwash for only one sleeve. Naturally, there are no "one-skein" guarantees and, while I hadn't formulated one in advance, I was well aware that I might have a shortage at some point and need a plan!

Luckily, I remembered the similarly dyed test skeins from my dying experiments. I have come up with a project for all of the fingering weight tests, but have nothing in mind for the heavier ones. I gathered the worsteds; there are differences in fiber content, but I wasn’t in a position to be too picky about that! 

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Right sleeve front (above) and back (below).

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I decided to stripe the intended project yarn with some of the make-do/test yarn and, overall, it’s OK. The ends of the sleeves are a bit brighter than the rest. I planned it that way, splitting a more solid color test skein in half (after using a small bit for the "collar"), because it was the only way I could be sure that at least that part would "match." The sleeves became darker as I striped my way to the shoulder and there was some pooling. There's one very dark patch on the back of the left sleeve… but it’s the back of the left sleeve. I’m okay with it.

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Left sleeve front (above) and back (below).

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I’m pretty darn thrilled with it. ; )

27 June 2011

Lovely weekend

The weather was fan-freakin-tabulous this weekend -- finally!! Sunny, warm, and dry -- just how I like it -- and perfect for our Sister Weekend. All I knew going in was that Annie and Karen were coming to my house, that I wanted to go to Caffe Mario for dinner, and that we'd probably head east (but not to Door County).

I prepped on Friday by gathering supplies (buying liquor, cutting rhubarb) to make a simple syrup for Rhubarb Margaritas! They were delicious. Karen didn't make it for Happy Hour, but I saved some and she was just in time for a nightcap.

Karen has become interested in wine-making (I am waiting for a bottle of her Strawberry-Rhubarb variety to come of age) and, as part of a class (so, for educational purposes), had recently visited Clover Meadow Winery. She'd found it all quite fascinating, and I'd actually had a couple of wineries fly into my radar as I was researching and contemplating what we might do together, so winery tour it was!

We checked out the map and decided that Peninsula 44 and von Stiehl wineries fit best into our time-and-place-frame!

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We had an enjoyable and educational tour of the vineyard and winery at Peninsula 44. It was a bit breezy for macro photography, but BABY GRAPES!

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We were fortunate to have Steve, the owner of Peninsula 44, as our tour guide. His wife, Maria, assisted us later with our tasting, and making our purchases. It's quite lovely to have some bottled reminders of our fun day.

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From here, we made our way to Algoma. The first stop was at The Flying Pig Gallery & Greenspace. I knew my sisters would love it there, and I was not wrong.

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It was a beautiful day to enjoy the greenspace -- the last time I was there, it was raining buckets! Annie photographed this enormous dragonfly sculpture across a pond filled with lily pads -- it was pretty cool!

Using a photo and location reference (but not specific address) in the memoir our grandmother penned a few years ago, we found the house our grandparents lived in for a couple of years in Algoma. That house was the destination of my first road trip, from Milwaukee to Algoma, for Thanksgiving in 1958! We found it looking much the same as the photo in our book (ca. 1960), except for what looked to be a fairly recent garage wing addition/remodel and some minor changes in landscaping.

From there, we made our way downtown to von Stiehl Winery -- the oldest winery in Wisconsin. We didn't tour the winery, and their vineyards are in Door County, but thoroughly enjoyed the history of the place and our tasting there.

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The merriment continued at Caffe Mario... with fortification. That was the artichoke bruschetta appetizer that we shared -- so delicious! Ann had a beautiful salad with grilled chicken, and Karen and I both enjoyed Mario's featured lasagna. There was Virginia's homemade tiramisu for dessert, of course.

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We missed Sharon, of course, but she was with us in many ways throughout the day. We've been doing Sister Weekends for about 25 years -- the majority of them hosted by Sharon in Milwaukee, at her cabin, in Ohio or in Kansas -- there's no way she'd not be a part of it. This is us! We are family.

 

23 June 2011

Goodness

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This is my half (I'm splitting with Ali) of the Week 2 delivery from our CSA. I've packed my lunch with a little bit of everything today.

Is it lunch time yet?

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I can't stop looking at it. I picked up eggs on the way home, too. Our CSA offers an egg share, but they were sold out by the time I signed up; they also offer additional shares in fruit, honey, maple syrup, bread, and late-season produce. We kept it fairly simple this year as first-timers, though we did each buy a late-season share in addition to the full share that we split.

I forgot to photograph the Week 1 delivery. Imagine... two types of popping corn, fresh rhubarb, fresh asparagus, and wee tender new garlic.

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The eggs are from a hobby farmer named Matt that I play phone tag with a lot. Eventually, we connect and I usually pick up a few dozen eggs at a time. This week, they were mostly shades of soft, gorgeous green.

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Heh. I can't stop looking at these, either.

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That's one of my brand new, home-grown, heirloom tomatoes! It's just a baby, but it'll grow. Kate's are even bigger -- she's blogging, so you can see for yourself (and say "Hello!").

The buttons are all sewn on the baby sweater for Project Spectrum June=Green! I've the day off tomorrow -- sisters are coming into town -- and a busy weekend planned (including the photographing of a small garden wedding on Sunday) (but also Monday off); even so, I'd like to get it written up. I love how it turned out!

22 June 2011

Meandering towards home

If I had to pick a word to summarize this year, so far, "meandering" would definitely be on the list.

Mack was on a visit to Noni's for the couple days before his birthday, and the plan was for Mom to deliver him home in time for his party on Saturday morning; I was going to ride along. My stepdad's been setting up a business location in NJ and has been doing a lot of travelling (you can maybe guess where this is going); his original return flight was cancelled and the new arrival time didn't jive with getting the birthday boy to his own party on time! Kate and I volunteered to transport the precious cargo so he wouldn't be late! It all went smoothly from there and, as previously documented, a good time was had by all.

We were just about to hit the highway on the way home -- the boring same-old highway that is fast and direct (and did I mention boring?) -- when Katie suggested we go a different way. We took a right instead of a left, travelling on some back roads that we have actually driven before but also some very new ones, and that's how we ended up meandering on the "rolling hills" portion of Wisconsin's Rustic Road 82.

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And standing in the middle of the road on the rolling hills portion of Rustic Road 82!

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It was a roller coaster hill -- very high and steep and pretty darn amazing! We drove over it a couple of times. Maybe a few. It was hard to resist... also so pretty, and green.

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Anyone recall last year when biking the Rustic Roads was something I thought I might like to do? Yeah. No. That's not happening here!

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I realized that we were in the Town of Ashford and probably not far from someplace that I had been before. I was quite involved in family history research some years ago, lucky that ancestors on both sides of my family rooted within 100 miles of my home, and I spent many an afternoon in a library, history center, courthouse, or cemetery...

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The most notable of which is the Rauch Family Cemetery. I've mentioned it before. I'm related in some way to most everyone buried here except, perhaps, for William & Hattie Baum. Their headstone sits apart, tucked separately into the woods, away from the madding Rauch crowd.

I introduced Katie to her great great great (ggg) grandfather, William, and to her gggg grandparents, Henry and Anna Maria.

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There are two Civil War veterans, my ggg grand uncles George and Elvir; the marker above is by Elvir's headstone -- which is actually the moss-covered and very realistic concrete "log" on the left. Someone still comes and tends... there was a newer small American flag at George's stone. His gravesite is also completely covered with daylilies -- a perfect rectangular bed of them.

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We were meandering and it was all rather impromptu, plus I remembered that I have a date with another relative to meet here this summer, so we didn't stay too long. I'll be back and more prepared.

Note: I was this >< close to buying the latest version of Family Tree Maker last night. (It's only a matter of time. My "current" version -- a back-up -- is so old that I don't know if an upgrade is even possible. The idea of entering everything anew is what kept me from clicking "Buy Now.")

We meandered some more and found ourselves in another (new to me) cemetery atop another hill, enduring the hairy eyeball from the neighboring farmer as he drove by on his tractor.

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We continued meandering through Campbellsport, the Holyland, up my favorite side of the lake, and home. I love my state.

 

19 June 2011

Green day

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After everything involved in Saturday's ride, I was thankful for nothing-much-planned on Sunday. Everyone else had things to do, leaving me to putz and putter as I wished. As it rained most of the day, sometimes hard, and it could easily have turned into an impromptu Pajama Day, but I had to run to the store for a few things. Thankfully, not when it was raining too hard!

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It was as good a day as any to get this little June sweater sewn up! Sewing sort of kills my wrist. It's been ages since I cross-stitched anything and I wonder whether I could even do it for long. It was just attaching two tiny little sleeves and sewing up the side/sleeve seams, but I had to take some breaks. It's all over now 'cept for the buttons. I was thinking orange, Ali suggested yellow... we'll see!

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By evening, the rain had subsided enough so that Rusty could man the grill while I roasted some asparagus in the oven a la Ina Garten (we love her!). The only thing I would have done differently was to have had the correct amount of asparagus. It was perfectly delicious, there just should have been MORE deliciousness. Yum. Maddy & Kate joined us for dinner; Ali & Kevin were just in time for dessert -- strawberry shortcake! Yum (again)!

18 June 2011

Did it!

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I'm so flippin' happy about this new sticker for my bike. I feel like a 6-year-old with new streamers, but I don't care. I want more! I want to decorate my bike with cool stickers!

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This is about the mark on our 25-mile route when we stopped at a rest area for water, peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, and a potty break. The first 9-10 miles of the leg were pretty flat and easy, and, best of all, not a single stop sign! I loved that. The last few miles were a little more challenging, so the stop was perfectly situated.

There was a pasta lunch awaiting us on return, as well as a glass of New Belgium Flat Tire or Somersault, or a Frostop Root Beer on tap. I opted for root beer, since we were driving home, but I'm celebrating with a Somersault right now. I just happened to pick some up the other day!

It was the perfect morning for a ride and we all had a great time... scored some fresh strawberries and more asparagus on the way home, too. Exhausted now.

17 June 2011

Eye Candy FO-riday

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I never... Did I? I don't think I did! Two pairs (one of each cuff/hand variation) of Susan's Ragtop knit in Brooks Farm Four Play. It was probably the hottest day of the year, so far, when I asked Maddy & Andi to model for me -- Andi's actually wearing shorts! I think we had a few days of sweltering heat and then a 30-degree plunge happened in a day, and I actually had to wear a pair of Ragtops for a while... trying to resist turning the furnace back on! They are MARVELOUS and I will definitely make them again. I really love the option to unfold the top part and have all but the very tips of my fingers covered.

* * * * *

Kate & Ali and I have attached the bike rack to my car, loaded up our bikes and gear, and are headed up to Door County, as we speak, to take part in tomorrow's Ride for Nature. Katie's a wee bit under the weather, and the weather forecast is "scattered," so we'll make a final determination tomorrow... we registered to ride the 25-mile route, but we could easily bump that down to 15.

Did I mentioned that the last time I suited up for a ride my skin-tight bike shorts felt a little... well, I don't know if "roomy" or even "loose" is the correct word... NOT-SO-TIGHT! Woohoo!

15 June 2011

One of those days

A few years ago, having cried myself across 2/3 of the country after dropping Katie off at college in Northern California, I found myself within an hour of my Northeast Wisconsin home, still crying, but thinking about Ali and Maddy, whom I hadn't seen in over a week, and that, even though I was (or was not) emotionally dealing with the Katie situation, I had to pull myself together so my girls would know how happy I was to see them!

Not before pulling over in the industrial park in Beaver Dam for one last cry to get it all out.

It's kind of how I'm feeling today... last night... yesterday; it's one (or a couple/few) of "those days." Truthfully, the whole week could easily go to hell in a handbasket... or, as my sister Sharon might say, "to purgatory in a shopping cart."

There's a word for that...

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It's Sharon's & Karen's birthday today and I'm a little more emotional about it than I thought I'd be. I'm sure it doesn't help that in two days, it will be six months since Sharon died. A follow-up call from hospice yesterday morning sort of put me over the edge... they were more than wonderful, but I was a) surprised and b) already sort of wigged out and c) I don't think they realized her birthday was today. I'm not sure how I came off to them.

I made that cake! My first memorable foray into baking... I think the twins were 10. The recipe was from the Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook that my grandma gave me -- from which the only other recipe I remember making was Cinnamon Balls on Mother's Day mornings for Mom -- and I wish I still had it.

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So, I'm sad about Sharon but happy about Karen, who is about 5 weeks through Couch-to-5K and actually ran her first 5K a couple of weeks ago, finishing 2nd (I think) in her age group and posting a FANTASTIC time. You may recall that she is doing the run leg of the triathlon relay in August with Annie (swimming) and me (cycling). Our team name is S.O.S. which can mean "Sisters of Sharon" or "Save Our SorryAsses" or just plain "HELP!" whichever is most appropriate given the situation.

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I was crying as I drove around after leaving work last night, trying to figure out whether I could pull it together enough to join my camera group on what sounded like a fun downtown scavenger photo shoot-out thingy... or knit night, which I haven't been to in over a year. I kept thinking that it would be good to do something, be around people... ugh, my energy level was just not there for either and I just could not. I went home and had a beer while Rusty cooked me supper.

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On the way, I decided that I had to turn the ship around and CELEBRATE! Karen, obviously... as Addy said, "We still have Karen!" (oh, how I love that boy)... but also Sharon -- all of the wonderful, funny, quirky things that made us love her so. It always makes me laugh when I think of how she'd screw up common sayings (what IS the word for that?), changing the words but still conveying the original meaning. Telling me that she had to "get back up on the horse" instead of "back in the saddle," or my all-time favorite "old mothers' fables" for "old wives' tales."

I sure do miss her.

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Happy Birthday, Sharon & Karen!! I love you so much.

13 June 2011

The thing about green is...

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It's the perfect backdrop for nature's beauty and bounty.

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With a cherry on top! Or at the bottom. Cherries are good in just about any location.

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Project Spectrum June=Green knitting update: I have finished the body of the sweater and three-needle joined it at the shoulders. I knit most of a sleeve and it became very clear that I'd not have enough for the other. I ripped it, weighed the yarn, and split it in two. My solution to the yarn shortage is to use my worsted weight test skeins to horizontally stripe, while knitting both sleeves a thte same time. There's something of a general stripe effect overall (pattern/vertical, yarn/horizontal) which is working in my favor. The sleeves will definitely be more green but, given the theme, that works too! It's a bit of a mess at the moment, but I'll have photos soon.

12 June 2011

Six of one

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The cakes were amazing. Annie made a homemade strawberry layer cake per Mack's request, and our friend Bill from Milwaukee brought an amazing and delicious cheesecake from Simma's.

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We all enjoyed a marvelous family brunch by Ann, Queen of Brunches, that included eggs, whole grain pancakes with Uncle Jimmy's maple syrup (freshly made this spring), a lovely fruit salad with yogurt, and just a sliver of both types of cake...and maybe just one more little sliver of cheesecake.

Fun day. I love 6.

11 June 2011

Mack

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Can you believe it's been 6 years? Six! There's a birthday party today!

 

07 June 2011

Coolsville

...is for squares. The new kids on the block are pretty green:

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And:

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I am so excited about this project. I may take the completely cauchy advice I receive on occasion to not only "knit faster" but to "dye faster," too!

I like the photograph in the hostas, but I think chairs will continue to be the main backdrop for my little Coolsville lovelies.

06 June 2011

Summer is...

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Lime Kool-aid, lush green grass, orange Creamsicles, sailor suits...

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and the swimming pool.

Here's the green -- the color of June for Project Spectrum -- one side of the hank dyed chartreuse, the other emerald green:

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And here's the oomph:

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One "end" of the hank was dyed navy blue, as in my test skeins, and the other pumpkin orange -- a brilliant addition thanks to a suggestion by the brilliant Julia. Interesting, too, because the hank embraces three adjoining months of Project Spectrum -- May=Orange, June=Green, July=Blue.

A different view:

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It's already been rewound again into a yarn cake and I've started the project, a baby sweater from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders called Boy-O-Boy.

 

05 June 2011

All I need is a baby

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Well, this was a fun and quick knit -- a cute design that I will very likely knit again.

It's a free, top-down pattern called Puerperium; cast on, knit, cast off, sew on buttons, and it's done. I knit it in Knit Picks Bare 100% Merino Wool, DK weight, using 6US needles (straights!). Tied and dyed using the immersion method and Jacquard acid dyes, I first tied and dyed the yarn in Fire Red, then tied and dyed again in a mixture of Pumpkin Orange and Burgundy. This is my May=Red project for Project Spectrum.

image from www.flickr.comKnit with no particular recipient in mind, I'll just add it to Miss Dashwood (among others) in my slowly growing pile of baby knits.

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I biked 13.9 miles yesterday -- not as early as I'd hoped, because it took me a while to "just do it," but before the worst heat of the day. It was a warm one. I thought today wouldn't be quite as warm, but more humid, so I did the rest of my June=Green dyeing yesterday. I think the weather has changed and, on the heels of last night's perfect summer evening, today appears to be a perfect summer day!

 

03 June 2011

Voila!

This...

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was this:

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was this...

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It's not sure what it wants to be next, but I can't wait to see! It was a fun experiment, and definitely one I'll play around with again. Soon. Very very soon.

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This...

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was this:

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Already-red kettle-dyed yarn left over from a previous project, I tied it and threw it in the pot. Not sure what this will become in the end, either, but I love it.

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Most of this...

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is now a baby sweater, complete with buttons. It's been given a soak and is now drying on the blocking board! Sewing on buttons is one of those things and I wasn't sure I'd be able to do all seven last night, but I powered through. It's adorable. There's enough leftover yarn that I think I can fashion some matching head- or foot-wear -- haven't decided.

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This is my only weekend in June without obligation, so I think I'm going to finish my June dyeing for Project Spectrum and choose a project, and maybe even have that complete by the end of the month! A bike ride, some yard stuff... I'm sure I'll find something to do.

So, what's up for your weekend?

02 June 2011

1st of June

Hi. I dyed some yarn. In case it isn't obvious, the Project Spectrum color for June is green.

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As in chartreuse.

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Or perhaps chartreuse with emerald and navy blue.

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The array.

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With kitty.

Oh.my.god. I wasn't so sure, at first, especially about the chartreuse, but now it's LOVE LOVE LOVE. It makes me so happy to look at it. I've already begun to knit it, too. I finished two little squares for the large project last night -- one in each colorway. They're irresistible.

All of the red-dyed yarn for Project Spectrum was done using immersion techniques. Looking for something different, this time I opted for applied color. I'd have painted if a suitable brush had been available; these were done using the pour-and-smoosh method (heh), and then steamed.

The chartreuse makes me think of lime Kool-aid -- summertime -- popcorn and Kool-aid under the maple tree in the front yard. These skeins were dyed in thirds, more or less, using 1%, .5% and .1% solutions.

The "navy" part on the second test batch was also supposed to be a third, but it decided it wanted to be almost half. These skeins were dyed using 1% solutions of chartreuse, emerald, and navy blue. That's a very dark navy blue!

I've one more batch of test skeins earmarked for green month... I'm not sure where to go with it!

01 June 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Puppy Love

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Charlee!

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The most loved big puppy that thinks she's a lap dog in the world.

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