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30 posts from November 2011

30 November 2011

The end of a couple of things, and also beginning

It's the end of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)! That -- and by "that" I mean everything November -- went by pretty quickly and also painlessly. Thank goodness. Let's try to keep on that express train right through winter! The blogging was maybe lame at times... one of the reasons the month flew by so fast is because I was busy doing things, and blogging suffers. It's also just different. I don't know. I'm still not ready to give it up. I'm comfortable here, even though it's/I've changed some over the past few years.

It's also, technically, the end of Project Spectrum 5: The Basics. Can I just say? I am amazed... amazed that I've seen this through in a timely fashion from beginning to end. The knitting projects aren't all done yet -- I may even have lost track a bit of that part -- but all the yarn is dyed. And then some! Though I am, arguably, somewhat challenged when it comes to finishing (it's genetic), I really had no problem keeping my enthusiasm for PS going over the last 7 months. I'm delighted to have developed an interpretation of Lolly's concept that worked so well for me.

So, here's the last of it... November is the month for Neutral: Black/White/Grey.

image from www.flickr.com
I wanted to play around with the neutrals, but also aubergine. (Purple is the new black!) (That might have been last year, but whatever.) The group on the left was dyed first with ecru and the middle group first with grey. They were then tied up and manipulated some before being thrown into the purple bath. (That sounds kinky, or like some sort of torture, doesn't it? Ha!) The group on the right is just straight-up black; variations in color there are due to differences in fiber content, number of plies, etc. Close-ups below.

image from www.flickr.com
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The finished "project" skein, below, turned out much darker than anticipated -- almost black -- because I still underestimate the power of black!

image from www.flickr.com
May I play favorites? Honestly, I think this is my favorite of all the PS dyeing. Wanna see it closer?

image from www.flickr.com
Closer still?

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I love it more and more! The yarn is a merino and silk blend and it is going to have to be a scarf or small shawl. I can't wait to knit it up!

The project part of PS will remain active around here until the yarn's been knit up, and until there's a blanket knit up from all the squares! As soon as these neutral squares are knit up, I'll start to figure out how it all works. I am SO excited.

I did some extra-curricular dyeing on Sunday -- Katie did, too -- and I'll share that over the next few days. Because as much as I love that project yarn, there's another that I dyed on Sunday that I love even more. I do. I love it. I love it so much that I would marry it!

 

29 November 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Musicals!

Ten on Tuesday10+ Favorite Musicals

Shall We Dance?

I'm not even going to consider animated musicals... that's a whole 'nother topic.

1. The Wizard of Oz. It was always a huge event every year when The Wizard of Oz came on TV! We had a small, portable, BLACK & WHITE TV -- I didn't even know, for years, that Oz was in color! Still, we were riveted to the TV. I think The Wicked Witch of the West/Margaret Hamilton might have been scarier in b&w! Scarecrow/Ray Bolger was my favorite growing up (still is and always will be); I could tolerate Tin Man/Jack Haley, but really couldn't stand Lion/Bert Lahr; I've a much deeper appreciation for them all as a grown up. Perfect casting. Somewhere Over The Rainbow...

2. Show Boat. This is the first "old" musical I ever came across on late-night TV as a teenager -- chopped all to hell on the screen, TERRIBLE quality -- dark and muddy, made even worse by black & white TV! This is the musical that made me fall in love with musicals! Howard Keel! Ava Gardner! Old Man River...

3. Funny Girl. Babs. Omar. Laughter, tears, heartbreak. My Man...

4. Oklahoma! Oh, Jud Fry/Rod Steiger was SUCH A BAD MAN! There's good and bad, light and dark, safety and danger, compare and contrast in every movie, but I think it had never been so clear to me before Oklahoma! Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'...

5. The King and I. This is the movie that taught me what sexy was: Hello, King of Siam/Yul Brynner with your bare chest, bald head, cute accent, and THOSE EYES! And all those kids! Anna/Deborah Kerr was so beautiful... so amazing. And I loved her dresses. So swishy. Getting To Know You...

6. Mary Poppins. Another perfectly cast movie! I remember how much fun the Sister Suffragette number was as a kid, and how much more I understood it when I watched with my own kids. Shoulder to Shoulder was the first Masterpiece Theater series I ever saw -- I don't think I even saw it from the beginning (and what I wouldn't give to see it again) -- and I was positively riveted by the Pankhurst women and that story! My life-long love for Dick Van Dyke began with this movie. Chim-Chim-Cheree...

7. The Sound of Music. Julie Andrews has had some pretty great leading men, and Captain Von Trapp/Christopher Plummer is certainly one of them. I love everything about this movie. My Favorite Things...

8. Jesus Christ Superstar. I received the Broadway soundtrack for Christmas and listened to it every waking moment. Dad took me to see a production at UW-Oshkosh for my birthday, I think, when I turned 14 or 15? I've seen several other productions, since, including an amazing spectacle of one with Sharon that had Ted Neely and Carl Anderson cast in their movie roles as Jesus and Judas. This is the first movie that I went back to the theater to see again, and again, and again... for a total of SIX times! Could We Start Again, Please?

9. Grease. Pure fun, through and through. Danny is the John Travolta that always springs to my mind... or Tony Manero. Can't imagine a more perfect cast than this, either. You're The One That I Want...

10. Moulin Rouge! God I love this movie. So unexpected and familiar at the same time; fun and sad; madcap and dramatic. Baz Luhrmann is a crazy man -- in all the ways that I love crazy. J'adore Ewan McGregor. Come What May...

...and also Roxanne.

BONUS NUMBERS:

11. Top Hat. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. That is all. Cheek to Cheek...

12. Singin' In The Rain. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor... rain. That is all, again. Good Morning...

13. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Howard Keel again (such an amazing voice)... with brothers. When You're In Love...

14. Million Dollar Mermaid. Esther Williams, Victor Mature, Busby Berkeley. Love this stuff. Let Me Call You Sweetheart...

15. Mamma Mia! Definitely not the greatest musical ever made, for sure, and some of the (Pierce Brosnan) singing is pretty bad, but it's ABBA and SO much fun!! Dancing Queen...

Oh, that was fun!! What about you? Yay or Nay on usical-May? If a Yay, what's on your list? What have I overlooked??

 

28 November 2011

Weighing in

I had a great track for a post going in my head while I was in the car this morning, but I lost it along the way and I haven't been able to find it again. So, I'm falling back on photos today... photos of food. It's a good thing the blog doesn't ever have to weigh in.

These are some I took last summer for Ali at the coffee shop. I don't think I've shown them before -- maybe a couple. If I did, think of it as going back for seconds.

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Sandwiches and salads. That's not so bad. I think that's a Goud-Asparagus panini.

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Coffee is good.

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Coffee drinks are yum, especially frozen blended ones that include chocolate and a little fresh whip!

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Mmmmuffins.

Remember, photos have no calories!

 

27 November 2011

We're dyein' over here!

There was some Project Spectrum dyeing of the neutral variety.

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Though now that I look at it, this is extra-curricular stormy-day sky scarf dyeing.

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Katie did some dyeing, too. She wanted cobalt blue for a cowl. Yowza!

Better (and more) pics will be forthcoming.

It was a great weekend -- somewhat busy and productive, somewhat relaxing. I can't believe it's already over!!

26 November 2011

More thanks!

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Mack and Addison made a "turkey" of thanks.

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We all had to write something we were thankful for on a tail feather.

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Guess which one is mine?

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I should have focused on his eyes, but he was very proud of the dirt on his nose from playing football earlier in the day!

It took a while to get motivated today -- chilly, rainy -- but I managed to get a few things done, including throwing a big ol' monkey off my back. It feels great! Tomorrow, I'm firing up the dye pots for the last of the Project Spectrum dyeing. Katie will be over to make a yarn brew, too!

 

25 November 2011

Coming clean

One of the things a person does when the cleaning lady is coming... is to do a little cleaning up beforehand. My mother had a regular cleaning lady when I was in grade school and I remember being awfully put out at still having to make my own bed on the day that she was coming. Pfft. What's a cleaning lady for?

Delighted to have the services of a cleaning lady at my house for a morning last week, I needed to do much, much more than make my bed in preparation! The clutter has a way of piling up around here -- not scary in a "weave your way through towering stacks of newspapers, room carpeted with magazines and trash, hoarding" type of way, but very much in the "I couldn't get the doors of the bookcase open without quite some effort" way.

I dealt with a few things before her arrival, but the bulk of it remained and was then pretty much dumped into my studio/office/room -- and today was the day to begin dealing with that! I'm not finished yet, but was quite successful and I'm happy about that.

Grey Owl Cowl

I also took some photos of a wrap that's been finished since March! I've had it on my Ravelry project page with only a weird self-portrait taken in the UK last spring -- I wore it almost everyday while we were there -- but never took any other photos.

image from www.flickr.com

  • Project: Burly (Grey Owl Cowl by Juju Vail, Loop Knit Lounge)
  • Yarn: Brown Sheep Burly Spun, super bulky weight, 2 skeins (528 yards), purchased at Patti's Yarn Shop, Green Bay, WI
  • Needle: US 15? Possibly 17
  • Buttons from Iris Fine Yarns
  • Start to Finish: January to March, 2011

Closure

I don't really remember why the big gap between start and finish... possibly, it was just needing to shop for buttons. I was motivated to finish before we left on our trip, and had hoped to visit Loop while we were in London. It was not to be, so I'll just have to try again next time!

 

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My contributions to Thanksgiving dinner this year were Ina Garten's Sauteed Cabbage, which is so simple that it barely needs a recipe, but I love Ina, and so there you go. Cabbage, butter, seasoning... is it good because it's simple? And Roasted Potato Stacks, a recipe from Gourmand Recipes that I found via Pinterest. Though my potatoes might have been sliced a little thinner -- skillfully operating a mandoline is a tricky enterprise -- they were every bit as good as expected!

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Why, yes, I did run outside to photograph my potatoes!

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In the oven. Mine baked for the full 45 minutes, and then were kept warm for another half hour. They were maybe a little chewier on the bottom because of the extra time in the oven, but they didn't suffer otherwise.

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I am thankful for potatoes.

And also for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake! I took delivery of a plate of that this morning, still warm from the oven, as thanks for the little Monster Bum pants that I knit last month. Wow. So good!!

Rusty made two pumpkin pies this morning, with freshly baked pumpkin, and also an apple pie! Mom made the turkey, of course, and also a quinoa stuffing. Yum. Cranberry sauce and rolls rounded out our meal -- it was perfect.

I helped out as much as I could last year, but was sidelined while recovering from cellulitis in my right leg -- right in the middle of what was to be a tough few months. Last Thanksgiving was at Annie's. It was the last holiday I celebrated with all of my siblings.

Our meal today was shared with Mom and Joe, all of our girls and Kevin, Michael, and Daniel from New Jersey (here for job training for a few weeks). Tomorrow, there'll be more family and more food -- turkey soup with homemade noodles (a nod to Sharon), and maybe some pumpkin and butternut squash lasagna.

I am thankful for you! Thanks for reading and stopping to say Hello now and then.

 

23 November 2011

Wisconsin!

Is there one of these for every state in the union?

That image makes me want to wear leather and blow smoke rings. But, of course, I won't.

Wisconsin is known for many things, people, places and events, including but not limited to:

  • Cheese and fresh (meaning squeaky) cheese curds
  • Beer
  • Bratwurst
  • The Packers, The Brewers, and The Badgers
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Oshkosh (B'gosh)
  • EAA
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Big Woods
  • Jane Hamilton
  • Geogia O'Keefe
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Harry Houdini
  • Tony Shalhoub
  • Liberace
  • Les Paul
  • Steve Miller
  • Charlotte Rae
  • Carol Merrill
  • Allen Ludden (and so, by marriage, Betty White)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (etc.)
  • Chris Farley
  • Lynn Fontanne
  • Neenah Foundry (watch your manhole covers)
  • Kimberly-Clark
  • Fort Howard
  • Kohler
  • Harley-Davidson
  • The Onion
  • Summerfest
  • Wisconsin Dells (and Ducks)
  • Polka
  • Violets
  • Cream Puffs
  • Trilobytes
  • Knitting Camp
  • Elizabeth Zimmermann
  • Meg Swanson
  • The Kitchen Table
  • Joyce Willilams
  • Amy Detjen
  • TechKnitter
  • Sievers School

...and Knitcircus. I've been watching Knitcircus develop and grow -- by leaps and bounds this past year or so, it seems, liking each issue more than the last. I really liked quite a few designs in the just-released Winter issue, and was informed a couple of days ago that I won a subscription for Knitcircus in a drawing at the knottygnome knits! You guessed it, the subscription begins with the Winter issue! Thank you, Sara!

Now... which pattern to knit first!?

We're also fortunate to have the Madison Knitters' Guild in Wisconsin. I have never been a member before, but mentioned to Angie a couple of weeks ago that I was thinking of joining... I would rarely be able to attend the regular meetings, but they have some pretty stellar special events and the annual membership is not too steep. Thoughts?

I am thankful to be launching into a four-day holiday weekend!! Gobble.

 

22 November 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Thankful

Ten on Tuesday10 Some Things For Which I Am Thankful

Off the cuff and, as they say, in no particular order...

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I'm thankful for glass cleaner, a squeegee, and quick-cleaning the kitchen windows yesterday (on the outside, anyway). Now that the leaves are off the trees, I get direct morning sun through my east-facing windows. I don't usually see that part, leaving the house most days at about dark-thirty 6:30 a.m., but on my day off... holy crap! How do windows on a covered porch get so dirty? (That's a rhetorical question.)

I'm thankful for the weather. You can see a bit of bright afternoon sun shining behind me and, just a few days until Thanksgiving, I'm wearing only a sweater and shawl (Stripe Study #2 - an early favorite this season) over my turtleneck. We'll be seeing 50s on the holiday weekend. Nice.

I'm thankful for wool and knitting and talented designers and the fabulosity when it all comes together into something that I love to knit and, even better, to wear. Shawls, cowls, and mitts have been in heavy rotation, so far this year, on both my needles and my body; I pulled down the heavier capelets and wraps a few days ago; sweaters will appear before long.

I am thankful for blogging and all of the friendship and support it's given me, not to mention inspiration. It is amazing to have friends all over the world. It's even more amazing to be able to meet and spend time with them on occasion.

I'm so incredibly thankful for my husband and three beautiful daughters; happy and thankful that we not only get along, for the most part, but also enjoy each other's company; thankful that we had such a fun, wonderful, and memorable vacation this year.

I'm thankful for the rest of my family -- my mom and dad, my sisters and brother, my niece and nephews, all the in-laws -- and for my friends. I am thankful that the love trumps all. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful, talented, creative people who are interested in... life... in learning and doing and making... a life worth living.

Is that 10 things?  ; )

21 November 2011

Hooked (the book), and yarn (always yarn!)

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A while back, I was sent a promotional copy of Hooked, a YA novel by Catherine Greenman, to read and review. I am not the fastest reader in the west (actually, I read fast but don't devote the time), these days, and I'm also a monogamous reader, so sometimes it takes a while to get through a book. Yes, I'm the one who sometimes goes to book club more for the socialization.

By the time this book came up next in my stack, I wasn't so sure I was in the mood for a young adult novel about teenage pregnancy, but I'd agreed to read the book, so cracked it open.

And I was immediately hooked. Ha! I know... but, seriously, I was! I was so happily surprised to feel the "real" in the characters right from the beginning. There are adult situations that make me recommend it as appropriate for high school.  

The book is about Thea who falls for a senior at her high school and he falls for her, too, and -- you'd be right to judge this book by its cover -- a teenage pregnancy is the eventual result. Thea takes up crochet to help keep herself grounded. I found the characters and their personal relationships to be fairly realistic, and I could relate for the most part. Living most of my life in Small Town (bordering on Rural), Midwest, there other situations -- more urban- or New York City-specific -- that were more difficult for me to relate to. And, sometimes, it all seemed a bit too easy. I know that it's never easy.

I did enjoy the book. If you think you might, too, I'm giving my copy away -- and possibly another. Just leave a comment on this post by midnight CST on Thanksgiving and I'll randomly draw and post a winner (or two, as the case may be) on Friday.

I also plan to do some dyeing over the weekend and, well, you just never know what might be needed to cushion a book for mailing. Wool? It could work. It's possible.

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As promised, a beauty shot of the Boston Ivy berry-dyed yarn. So unexpected and pretty!

 

20 November 2011

Ten - Oh!

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I grabbed Kate this morning and we ran over to Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill for their Holiday Open House. It was my first time there and it was great to see what they -- and other local artisans -- had to offer.

Also, I found out that the big bag of fiber I've been lugging around in my trunk is alpaca. Kate has one, too, both given to her by a co-worker who moved a few years ago. We didn't have Kate's with us, so we don't know if it's alpaca, too, or something else. Oh, darn, we'll just have to drive out there again sometime. It would be nice to get that fiber processed!

Kate's always been much more interested in the spinning aspect of things. I threw out the idea of a beginner's spinning class for her as a Christmas gift. I may have offered to accompany her to class... you know, for moral support.

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We took the long way home, made a little lunch, and settled in to watch the Packer game. It was a little tense for a bit, but they won! The Packers haven't had a 10-0 record since the early 1960s!

 

19 November 2011

Spirited

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So, it wasn't "crafty" it was just three homes profesionally decked out for a Holiday Home Tour.

Except that it wasn't just three homes, it was three exceptionally beautiful historic homes. I'd move into any of them in a heartbeat, but my favorites were the first two -- both having undergone (and continuing) restoration.

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I was moved to take a photo of this wall of album covers in the room of a young and talented drummer. I love it when the young 'uns like the same old music I do! (And also love it when they share the new music with me, too!)

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And I pret' near plotzed when I walked into the kitchen (of the same home) (the middle one) and saw this antique tile backsplash by the stove. Gorgeous doesn't even begin to describe it.

I'm really kind of happy that it wasn't all crafty. This was fun and it was great to smell fresh evergreens and maybe, just maybe, I'm sort of starting to get in the mood.

 

18 November 2011

Growing, doing new things

Ali called me from work the other day.

Ali: I just went to the bathroom!

Me: Oookaaaaaaay...

And I'm thinking, you know, this hasn't been big news in, like, over 20 years!

Ali: While I was in there, I was looking out the window at the ivy growing on the wall next door and it's full of berries! Do you think you might like to try some of that for dyeing? I'll pick some and bring it home for you, if you do.

And I'm a very happy mother... with some Boston Ivy-dyed wool.

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I'll have to take a more glamorous photo over the weekend. This is the result of almost 400g of Boston Ivy berries made into a dye bath. I simmered them for an hour, steeped them for an hour, and strained before adding the wool. I used Knit Picks Bare Palette Fingering Yarn (100% Peruvian Highland Wool) and simmered it for about a half-hour and then I left it in the dye bath to cool overnight (approx. 8 hours). Both the bath and the wool were quite red -- think a deep merlot (see below); the gray-green wool (mordanted with alum & cream of tartar) is the result after several rinses. Very pretty, but not what you'd expect after seeing the spoon. (I was not surprised, however, having read the book.) (Natural Dyeing.)

image from www.flickr.com

Ali said that she went outside between the buildings to pick the berries, but she'd been looking up from her vantage point in the bathroom and the berries were all too high to reach from the ground. The little darling leaned out an upstairs window to pick them for me!

Are you happy for the weekend? I am! Tomorrow, there's a crafty open house (three houses, actually) thing that I'll be going to, and I'm hoping to get over to Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill for their open house before the weekend is over.

17 November 2011

Cavalcade of cowls

Can there be a cavalcade of two?  ; )

image from www.flickr.com

  • Project: Freestyle Cabled Cowl, my own freeform willy-nilliness, starting off with tweaking the basic framework of Caera and ending with a Woven Cowl mash-up
  • Yarn: Plymouth Galway, worsted weight, 210 yards, Make.Do.Dyed turquoise-tinged gray 
  • Needle: US 8
  • Buttons from Iris Fine Yarns
  • Start to Finish: November 2 to November 15, 2011

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This turned out way better than I expected. First, and surprisingly, I love the color. This is the skein of yarn I threw in to completely exhaust the aqua dye pot a couple of week ago; the color was sort of MEH, so I added some gray and LOVE!

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Inspired by Fiona Ellis and the swatch I knit five years ago in her "Morphing Cables" class, I had no plan.

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To me, this is the perfect type of project for experimenting with freestyling -- any part that ended up looking hideous could be somewhat hidden by the folds and draping when a cowl is actually worn.

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I didn't go super-duper crazy... I combined some very traditional cabling techniques and patterns with travelling stitches and crazy-ass twists and turns.

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It's a lot crazier on one side than it is on the other. And there are some parts that I definitely like better than some other.

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There are even some areas where I worked straight. Every time I came to those plain stockinette columns I'd think of my sister Sharon and hear her say, "The eye needs a place to rest."

Overall, I give it a great big SQUEE!

 

16 November 2011

Woven Cowl

Woven Cowl I

 

  • Project: Caffe au Lait (Woven Cowl by Monique Gascon)
  • Yarn: 100% Merino 4-ply, worsted weight, 218 yards, Make.Do.Dyed with black walnuts harvested from my back yard
  • Needle: US 8
  • Mods: None!
  • Buttons from Iris Fine Yarns
  • Start to Finish: October 13 to November 15, 2011

image from www.flickr.com
The "black walnut" brown is not as rich on the worsted merino as it is on the BFL superwash -- likely having to do more with the superwash part than the breed. But I could be wrong.

This is the second of four cowls I've knit in the past couple of months... I think there's still one more (at least) that wants to come out.

Today was cleaning lady day! For my birthday present, Mom sent her cleaning lady over to spend a morning with me. It was really great... and exhausting! While she spent time doing the normal, routine stuff (that I normally do, but not as routinely as a probably should -- and certainly not all in one day, which is, to me, one of the very best things about having a cleaning lady), I dealt with piles and clutter and yarn and stuff. There's no shortage of any of those things anywhere in my house!

There was a bonus lunch with Mom today -- discussion about Thanksgiving (I can't believe it's Thanksgiving NEXT WEEK!), and a little bit about Christmas and even extending into April and birthdays, thanks to Maddy. Heh.

I'm off in just a bit for a hair cut that probably isn't completely necessary right now... and it occurs to me that I never even showed it since last time!

Book club tonight, and I haven't read the book... again. It wasn't the most stellar choice and won't likely merit much discussion -- and I've been enjoying what I've been reading instead. So there. There'll be some other fun stuff to talk about, I'm sure, and it's at a new restaurant I've been wanting to try.

Whew! It's one of THOSE days off!!

 

15 November 2011

Time capsule

Do you upload photos to Flickr? Have you subscribed in some manner to Photojojo? And have you also signed up to receive a twice-monthly Photojojo Time Capsule?

The Time Capsule arrives via email twice a month and shows a few of the photos I'd uploaded to Flickr the previous year. It's usually interesting, sometimes boring, occasionally a thrill!

Today, I see this:

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At this time last year, it was Month 8 of this 9-month project -- Parcheesi -- my final and also most-amazing project of 2010 (at least). There's so much knitted into that blanket.

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I've been meaning to write about it, too. It's chilly at night now, especially in our bedroom, and I've been pulling Parcheesi over me as an extra layer. It never fails to make me smile. Honestly, it makes me SO HAPPY to pull it over me, or wrap it around me -- truly thrilling. I feel a happy little zing inside every time!

Check 'em out on Ravelry, too.

I want one to cover my whole bed!

14 November 2011

Bye, bye, bye

There's a big football game tonight in Green Bay. I'm not there, but two of my daughters are and so will my step-nephews... I hope. Their tickets were left on my kitchen table for pick up today, and they were still there when I got home... still there as we speak.

So... I guess I still maybe could go to the game tonight.

There's just shy of two hours 'til kick-off; hopefully, they'll get here at some point.

During the football seaon, each team has a week off -- the BYE week.

I'm takin' a bye on NaBloPoMo blogging today... well, I'm blogging, but it's blah-blah blogging.

Update: The boys just came for their tickets! They said that traffic on the way up (from Madison) wasn't too bad... advantages to bringing up the rear.

Go Pack Go!

 

13 November 2011

Lumberjacks

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That's Rusty in the orange hat with our around-the-corner neighbor Tom. We've a couple of trees in the back that needed to go, for one reason or another (in the case of the box elder, 'nuff said) (I'm really sad about the ash, though). They only managed the box elder today and will take care of the ash another day.

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Tom has been doing some work on his house and has more planned. Rusty will help him with a pool deck project next summer in trade for Tom helping with the trees.

Tom is the third owner, since we've lived here, of the house around the corner. Maddy's BFF through most of elementary school used to live there. Man, we've lived here a long time.

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In contrast to yesterday, it was a gray day today and, when the guys were in the woods, just the tiniest bit damp.

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A little bit of rain on a gray day makes the color sort of POP!

 

12 November 2011

Dot, dot, dot

Riffing a la Theresa...

  • It was a nice, sunny day today -- just the way I like my Saturdays. A light jacket and a scarf wrapped 'round my neck, some fingerless mitts in the morning...
  • And I'm good.
  • I picked up the last of our CSA deliveries today -- a "late season" box for each of us (Ali and me). We found various potatoes and squash, a pie pumpkin, shallots and garlic, cabbage, apples...
  • I made potato soup for supper tonight.
  • With a recipe that my friend Cursing Mama sent me...
  • In 2008...
  • That I've been meaning to try.
  • NOM!
  • Next time, I'm making Elizabeth's Baked Potato Soup...
  • She only posted that one in 2010, so I've got time.
  • Heh.
  • I'm sure it'll be soon! I have potatoes!
  • The only other thing I bought at the market was some bread -- a loaf of sourdough, and also a ciabatta with some gorgonzola butter...
  • We had some devoured that last weekend with the birthday pot pies...
  • And devoured it again tonight.
  • I can tell it's getting close to Christmas...
  • Because my girls are knitting.
  • Alison called me twice last night (from her apartment, upstairs at my house)...
  • The second time I answered, "Knitting Hotline! How may I help you?"
  • She's knitting a pair of slippers...
  • "What does 'KFB' mean?"
  • "What does "SM" mean?"
  • She wanted to go yarn shopping today and I just happened to need to go button shopping, too!
  • I bought buttons for two cowls that I've recently finished.
  • My LYS was having a sale...
  • Can you believe I've never been on their email list before?
  • They don't mail things in the mail anymore.
  • I discovered today that I lost my driver's license.
  • I can't ever get the thing out of its little slot when I want to, so I'm pretty sure that it didn't just fall out and that I left it somewhere...
  • I can't imagine where!
  • Or even when!
  • It's driving me nuts.
  • Also driving me nuts is that the letters E, T, A, D, F, H, L, C, N are all worn off my my keyboard, most of G and M are, too, and V, R and B are barely there.
  • I don't need to see them to type because I know them by heart/feel...
  • But when I go looking for a particular one... at a time... I really have to think.
  • Drives me nuts...
  • It's not that old.
  • I know, I know...
  • I did some work today...
  • And now I'm going to sit down with Rusty and watch the last episode of Zen.
  • Om.
  • Yum.
  • Yeah.

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Random photo of not a square...

 

11 November 2011

Late edition

...for squares. I'm sorry.

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The girl can't help it.

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She's gotta post somethin'.

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Not sure what the weekend holds. I've been "Airborne" this afternoon; though I'd much rather be flying, it's the "effervescent health formula" variety. I'll just have to wait and see whether I make it off the runway. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay... if I get myself to bed in a timely fashion.

 

10 November 2011

First snow

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I read about it all yesterday morning... people to the north, south, and west of me reporting snow. There was nothin' by me. Then, at noon, I saw reports of school closing and snowplows passing. Huh. Really?? 'Cuz I got nothin'! Am I living in a micro-climate over here? It started eventually, of course, big flakes falling fast and furious for a bit, not amounting to much. To the west, however, there are many more inches of snow and great numbers of people with no power.

What is up with that? Why are there so many more storm-related power outages all over and why, in some cases, are they lasting for days and days and a week? Stronger storms? Weaker/faulty infrastructure/materials? Have the utilities cut their workforce so much that there just aren't the crews available to deal with this type of damage in a timely manner anymore?

I don't quite get it.

Anyway, due to the pucky weather, I spent most of my day off yesterday in my PJs... most, but not all.

I did some computer work (clean up/prep for upcoming projects), worked out a few of life's problems, made some calls and got things moving... the sun is beginning to rise on a new horizon.

 

09 November 2011

Let's be square

image from www.flickr.com


image from www.flickr.com


image from www.flickr.com

The fact that these all represent Project Spectrum "Cyan/Aqua" tell me that I'm definitely on the right track -- experimenting, learning, growing! The squares above are knit from the test skeins below.

image from www.flickr.com

The bunch on the right was later overdyed with the following result, which was used to knit the last bunch of squares shown above.

image from www.flickr.com
It was completely unexpected and unintentional to knit that middle group of squares and see this...

image from www.flickr.com
...which immediately reminded me of this:

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Hm. I must have Scotland on my mind.

I'm looking forward to the last of the PS dyeing so I can move on to the big project with all the little knitted squares. The intention is a blanket and I can't wait to get started!

 

08 November 2011

A surprise FO

FO = Finished Object

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  • Project: Baby Pixie (Pixie Hat by Diana Chan Taylor for Crystal Palace Yarns)
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (eggplant) from Iris Fine Yarns, Appleton, WI -- leftovers from Different Lines -- and, like Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (one of my favorites!), there is still a bit left
  • Needle: US 3
  • Mods: Worked K1,P1 on first 5 or so rows, as noted on a forum somewhere online
  • Start to Finish: This one snuck in... I think I started 31 Oct; I finished 3 Nov

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How darn cute is that?

A big Thank You to Lisa for suggesting vegetables, particularly squash, as good stand-in models for baby hats. Heehee.

 

07 November 2011

Promises, promises

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I am exhausted. I was fine all day, but when 5:00 rolled around and it was already dark... I drooped. Not like this lovely, dusty pink Gebera daisy that Ali dropped off in a surprise visit this afternoon! So pretty. I believe the weekend has caught up with me.

So I'm leaving you with promises... of reading, knitting, a fun knit-along... I'm aiming to step up the NaBloPoMo blogging!

But not today.  ; )

06 November 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

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I've had a fabulous birthday weekend full of fun and food and most of all family.

My sister Karen arrived late on Friday night, but that just meant we could get an early start on Saturday. We grabbed Katie and Mom and went to the first of Appleton's winter indoor farmers' markets. I actually seem to get to the winter market there more often than the summer -- I think because the summer one is so incredibly big these days and there is a much smaller market, closer to home, that suits my needs. Plus there was the CSA membership this year. Anyway, between the farm market and the meat market, we bought what we needed for lunch and dinner and headed home.

When Annie arrived on Saturday afternoon, we drove out to Ledgestone Vineyards for sampling and visiting -- it was one of the local wineries that we missed on our Sister Weekend Winery Tour last summer, so we had to make amends.

I chose the menu for dinner and we all cooked together -- Mom was sweet and let us use mess up her kitchen (I helped with clean up afterwards) -- Annie made steak & onion pie, I made chicken pot pies with sliced potato crust (inspired by a recent Martha Stewart LIVING cover story), Karen made a Greek-inspired salad, and we served with some wonderful Renard's ciabatta and gorgonzola butter, and wine. Annie's incredible carrot cake was for dessert! It was all very yum.

Today started with an extra hour -- not normally a fan of DST, this is tolerable! We did a little shopping this afternoon -- from The Dollar Store to the Godiva shop -- and my sisters treated me to a 25-minute chair massage (and also treated themselves!) -- which was so great and reminds me that I need to get that back into my self-care routine. 

This great weekend wound down with a Packer win. It's been grand.

(The photo is from our UK trip last spring, on the Isle of Anglesey, definitely one of the biggest highlights of the past and possibly future few year(s), I still get the warm fuzzies when I think of that trip -- how beautiful it was and how much fun we had.)

05 November 2011

Hello, checking in

Busy day! Lots of fun, family, and food.

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Then Katie ran off to get ready for what's probably one of the last Halloween parties of the year! She had to stop by and pick up something she'd forgotten and scared the heck out of poor Mack & Addison (who were both very tired).

I'm so happy that I get an extra hour of sleep on my birthday!!

 

04 November 2011

Here an art show, there an art show

Here:

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This is the side of our garage... a slowly developing gallery. The car hood is from Ali's old Saturn; it was totalled in a collision with an empty (except for the driver) school bus a few years ago when she lost control on an icy patch of road. My kids have a history of painting all or part of their cars, though none of them is painted right now so perhaps they're over that.

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The painting is pretty fragile for an installation such as this, but it was already ruined. It was being used (face-down) as a puzzle board a while back, and was slid under a small chest in the living room. In cleaning up one of many (many, many, many) puppy accidents, I discovered... well, you know what I discovered. It wasn't completely soaked, but parts of it were wet. I cleaned it, but it was still gross, so I took it out by the trash bin... which is right by the garage. Someone "saved" it and I had to let everyone know that it couldn't come back in the house, so now it's installed on the garage gallery.

There: The 67th Art Annual at the Neville Public Museum of Brown County. Husband has a piece in the show and the opening is tonight!

 

03 November 2011

Freestyle cables

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I finished a cute little pixie baby hat with yarn left over from a recent shawl. I'd sure like to find a baby to model it.

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Meanwhile, I've started a new project with the yarn I used to exhaust the dye pot the other day.

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It's a cowl with "cables" and, inspired by a long-ago class with Fiona Ellis, I'm freestyling. What the heck, you know? I get to play! It'll be all scrunched up around my neck and I won't have to show the whole thing unless I want to. Bah! Bloody brilliant. And so far, so good!

 

02 November 2011

The Fix and Some Fun


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Another little dip into the pot turned this (parts of which I love, but not so much as a whole)...

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...into this...

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...and I'm happy with that. There are subtle changes, some depth.

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A possible pairing.

The pot hadn't completely exhausted, so I threw in a ball of Plymouth Galway. There wasn't really enough dye to create anything super exciting, so I added some gray... a prelude to the last month of Project Spectrum.

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Yes, please!

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And now for some fun! Look who's working in my area this week! Angie and I got together last night for dinner and then a little knitting over coffee/tea. We usually have camnesia when we get together, but this time nabbed a barista to take phone pics... with both of our phones!

 

01 November 2011

Dye, try, dye again

I finally knit up the yellow test skeins for my PS Square Project and managed to get them photographed while there was still some light on Saturday afternoon. Observe.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
For the first time, I ran out of yarn and had to use some dyed scrap to finish the two mitered squares, above.

image from www.flickr.com
That monochromatic bunch is like sunshine...

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...or reminds me of corn on the cob. Happy and delicious!

After all the excitement and activity on Saturday, I had a very hard time getting going on Sunday -- and there was lots to do! Motivation finally found me around noon or so and I ended up doing two loads of laundry; cooking two pumpkins and a squash, and making another lasagna with some of it; glueing a favorite pair of shoes (hoping to get one more winter from them) (man, that's a messy job) (aaaaand I'm not sure that they're suitable anymore for wearing in public); and cleaning up my studio/office!

My room was so bad, I could barely move without worrying about knocking something over and that type of situation is not conducive to anything creative or productive. One reason for cleaning up is that, heading into the dark season, I wanted to get something set up for photography. I finally changed the speedring on my old softbox so that it fits a newer light that I have, and set it all up in a more permanent (and somewhat portable-around-the-house) fashion. There's room! There's light! There are photos!

Nope (close up)

I also needed to fix the Project Spectrum Aqua/Cyan yarn and give it some OOMPH. Smartly, if I may say so, I decided to experiment on the test skeins, even if (or maybe because) they weren't perfect -- that's what they're for!

image from www.flickr.com
So, the fix isn't perfect, either, but it was definitely not a futile exercise.

Stay tuned... more tomorrow... after my dentist appointment.  ; )

 

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