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13 posts from April 2013

30 April 2013

Ten on Tuesday: May days

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May

The months fly by, don't they? Maybe by taking a minute to really think about what's happening in May, it won't seem like it went *poof* a month from now when June's barrelling down.

1.  Hair cut (more likely, trim) tomorrow! I will also be auditioning -- or at least discussing -- the hairstyle that I have in mind for the wedding.

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Yummy custom-made salad with ham-wrapped pickles.

2.  Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!

3.  On Saturday, Ali and I will be heading to Oshkosh and the Natural Product & Organic Food Expo -- Joel Salatin and Will Allen among the highlights.

4.  Visitors from Oregon, their daughter (a sometime guest at our house) graduating from Lawrence University this year and they'll be here over the Mother's Day weekend for her recital.

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Mum and me!

5.  Mother's Day!

6.  Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!

7.  The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.

8.  Hopefully, an overnighter to Milwaukee for an art opening, premiere of an animated music video (by my cousin's husband) featuring music from the Tritonics new single “Smoky Places,” and after-party. Just because... it sounds like fun!

The middle of the month is very busy!!

9.  Memorial Day!

10.  My knitting goal for May will be to finish the two shawls that I'm working on for the wedding... and NOT start another baby sweater. Heh. I'm more than half-way on Mexican Wisconsin Wedding and made a good start on Frambuesa last night. Second try! There's errata, for one thing, and some wonkiness regarding stitch marker placement and repeats... I just move them around as needed and "read" my knitting -- as long as it reads correctly, I'm good. The markers are eventually removed. I already know that I'm going to LOVE this shawl!

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BONUS:  11.  I've ramped up the dyeing a tiny bit in the last month or so, the impetus being some fun custom orders and projects! Oh, I miss it!! As things continue to improve and progress in other areas of life, I intend to be doing much more of that beginning in May.

29 April 2013

Inaugural ride of '13

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Wow, did we have a gorgeous weekend! I took my mother to the drug store on Saturday so she could purchase some birthday cards and whatnot, and along the way she remarked that it was surprising so few people were out doing yard work. I think with spring so stingy this year, everyone was out doing their best to ENJOY our good weather!

I pumped up the tires and took a short ride on my bike yesterday -- PERFECT biking weather. It was only 5.5 miles, and just enough so that I "felt" the ride but wasn't crippled by it. Heh.

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I enjoyed having the back door open.

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And sitting outside to get a little Vitamin D while also knitting a bit.

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Nothing much is happening on the espalier tree yet... buds are barely out.

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But the bloodroot emerged overnight!

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Roxy helped with the inspection. Bleeding hearts are growing fast, as usual!

 

26 April 2013

Spring is springing!

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Tulips behind the garage.

Blue sky!

Bleeding hearts emerge.

Wimpy volunteer crocus in my back yard.

Gorgeous crocuses in my mother's neighbor's front yard!

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I'll be putting on the spandex shorts, pumping up the tires, and hitting the road on my bike this weekend -- the best one weather-wise that we've had in a LONG time!

What's up with you?

 

25 April 2013

Twenty-two!

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I'm not sure what is more surprising here... the size of my glasses or Maddy's dark hair!

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Because she's been a blondie ever since!

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My intrepid adventurer!

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Famous stink-eye. Seriously. This is the expression in 95% of her photos.

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But there are plenty like this, too. Love. (Also, a resemblence between Ali and my sister Sharon is often seen, but in this one it blows me away!)

Happy 22nd birthday, Madeleine!! And thank you for having a relatively normal year ahead! I am looking forward to more adventure and excitement... just happy it's not this year!

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One of my favorite photos of us in London.

And with that, "birthday week" is a wrap for another year!

 

24 April 2013

Pins and needles!

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Mom's late '50s wedding dress has been cleaned, examined, pulled apart a bit, sewn up some... and now the real work begins! The stays have been replaced, a possible replacement "crinoline" found, ideas hatched... and others ditched.

One of the reasons I've lagged on the fingerless gloves is because I wanted to compare the various "white" yarns I have secured with the newly cleaned "white" dress. There are approximately 1,000,000 shades of white; did you know?

Meanwhile, pearls have appeared and may be favored. It'll be summer... feeling late spring-ish, anyway... and I think the gauntlets are out... but the shawl is still in, so I'd better get to work. And Julia has just released Frambuesa, another lovely shawl, and I think I'm going to also make that -- either for myself or Ali -- using some Make.Do Be Fingering/Sock that I dyed at the same time and matches the yarn I'm using for Mexican Wedding.

We can change our minds like that.

And we may even change them some more!

* * * * *

Fitting with the topic today is Joan McGowan-Michael's Craftsy class released today: Online Knitting Class: Feminine Fit. Also, I have just signed up for Amy Herzog's Knit to Flatter and can't wait to start!

The book's already on the way!

23 April 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Sweaters

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Sweater Patterns

I have more than a few sweaters knit up and presently awaiting finishing. I love to knit sweaters, and I even love to wear them, but finishing is something else.

I could be the poster girl for The World-Wide Association of Process Knitters!

Eventually, I'll find a groove or get a bug and then it's full-steam ahead to the end. You just never know when...

Possibly because I am a process knitter, my mental queue is always growing. Interesting (not necessarily complicated) shapes and techniques always draw me in. These 10 are among the most recent sweater (or vest) patterns I've added to my Ravelry Favorites list... a list that is always changing!

1. Sara - by Marita Rolin, amirisu - Spring 2013. Cap sleeves, pockets... in contrasting color. Summer uniform?

2. Abalone - by Beata Jezek, Hedgehog Fibers. Simple & seamless. I like that.

3. Miss Jane - by Georgie Hallam. Three-quarter length sleeves and simple, simple, simple!

4. Double-Take Tee - by Espace Tricot. I'm pretty sure I could wear this out in a summer - perfect for throwing over... just about anything!

5. Funky Grandpa - a cardi riff on her own Summer Jumper Recipe by La Maison Rililie. Hello, v-neck and stripes, two of my favorite things.

6. Buttonbox - by Elizabeth McCarten, in Knitty - Spring+Summer 2013. Love the details, love that little collar!

7. Oconee - by Jamie Thomas. Interesting construction with very little "finishing" required, and it looks like it would knit up super fast.

8. Rhadamanthys - by Jennifer Dassau. Perfect for a process knitter, this is knit in one piece with no seaming or finishing required. It's knit entirely in garter stitch, which I also love. Why am I not knitting this right now?

9. Circlet Cardigan - by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence, Knitpicks. Texture!

10. Wayside Lace Cardigan - by Schoppel-Wolle Design Team, Skacel Fiber Studio.  This just looks like a big comfy hug!

What about you?

 

22 April 2013

Twenty-eight!

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Hanging with Daddy at the beach - Cape Meares, OR.

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Expressing herself!

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And always up for some fun and adventure!

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I'm going to miss her when she leaves again for school in the fall.

It's her 28th birthday today! Happy Birthday, Katie! I love you so much, and am so excited for your big year ahead!!

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My daughters celebrated their birthdays together over the weekend, also carrying on the tradition of Sister Weekend begun some years ago by my sisters and me! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Love my girls!

 

19 April 2013

Let's run some numbers

I had my more-or-less annual check-up at the doc's office last week. It was the glucose result on the lipid profile from last year's exam that started me to look at and think about my diet from a different perspective... traditional dietary guidelines were just.not.working.

So, let's compare, shall we? My highest-ever weight was recorded in early March of last year and I've officially (on the doctor's scale) lost 44 pounds since then (most of that in the last 7 months).

My glucose was "high" last March; a 6-month check was ordered and by October it had gone down, though I was sort of bummed then that it wasn't a more dramatic reduction. I was looking forward to last week's result and, though I know I am healthier and feel better than I have in years, I was a little disappointed again that it had only gone down one more point. My doc talked about that stupid prediabetes class again. I'm sure it's not stupid at all... perhaps very helpful for some... but I just don't wanna.

Glucose:  106 - March 2012
Glucose:  103 - October 2012
Glucose:  102 - April 2013

Honestly, I think I just don't like my doc so much. She's nice enough and was genuinely happy when I pointed out that I'd lost 44 pounds in the past year... but I had to point it out. Bleh. I realize that this is only the second time we've met and she was ready to give birth the first time but, ya know, maybe take a peek at the chart as you walk through the door, just a quick check of the vitals. Then I get mad that it seems like I have to change doctors every time I change insurance because the cost is constantly rising and my wage is not, and then I just get pissed off about everything, so let's get back to those numbers and the parts that I like!

My cholesterol is high -- higher than it's ever been! Total cholesterol and LDL have both jumped, but I eat a fair amount of high-fat foods, though, so that's neither surprising nor alarming. It's all context. HDL (the good) has taken a giant leap, triglycerides and VLDL are low, as is the cholesterol/HDL ratio. Including numbers from my first-ever panel in 1999 (because they were on the report!) (I was 40).

Standard:  Cholesterol <200, LDL <100, HDL >39, Triglyceride <150, Ratio <4.5.

Cholesterol:  194 - May 1999
Cholesterol:  216 - March 2012
Cholesterol:  245 - April 2013

LDL:  119 - May 1999
LDL:  131 - March 2012
LDL:  140 - April 2013

HDL:  63 - May 1999
HDL:  68 - March 2012
HDL:  91 - April 2013

Triglyceride:  58 - May 1999
Triglyceride:  83 - March 2012
Triglyceride:  72 - April 2013

VLDL:  12 - May 1999
VLDL:  17 - March 2012
VLDL:  14 - April 2013

Chol/HDL Ratio:  3.1 - May 1999
Chol/HDL Ratio:  3.2 - March 2012
Chol/HDL Ratio:  2.7 - April 2013

BMI:  35.94 - March 2012
BMI:  28.76 - April 2013

Giant leaps. And in other news, my follow-up mammogram was fine and I'm back on an annual schedule, and nothing unusual was found in the ultrasound about which I wasn't worried but am quite relieved.

Next up (don't yell): Colonoscopy. I haven't had one yet.

My stepdad buried his eldest son yesterday. Joey was 45 and his dad asked that we all be more diligent in getting those regular, early diagnostic tests done.

* * * * *

On a lighter note, I'm so happy I upgraded my phone in December so I could start using Instagram! And also, dual-view camera again! I noticed a lot of selfies as I flipped through photo files in Brazil and had to laugh! I've continued to take a few here and there. Also, have posted an Instagram photo every day this year, so far, except for two. Not bad.

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1. I was in my swimming suit all day today. I don't think that's happened since I was 9. #riodejaneiro #brazil #beachbum, 2. Way up high. Pao de Acucar. #brazil #day3 #haveimentionedthatthisissimplyamazing, 3. Nice way to spend a morning. #sao conrado #rio, 4. With the boys at Escada de Selaron. #amazingriodejaneiro #selaronsadness, 5. Let's spice things up., 6. I *am* sorry about my neck, but hello collarbones! I didn't think we'd ever see each other again., 7. You're not the only one, @january_one! After a visit to the salon today, I feel pretty, too! #magic, 8. Low Tide., 9. Good LavAzza Morning with @lovenotwarhol. Mmm, Caffe Americano., 10. Favorite double-duty knitted object... both blanket and shawl. #constantwintercompanion #iwillmissit #readyforspring, 11. Outside and not needing to be zipped up all the way. It could be spring is coming. #smallpleasures, 12. How low can she go? Lowest weight in 8 years... skinny jeans & boots (cold snowy ick outside today). So happy.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

18 April 2013

Rhythm

I am trying to find it. Maybe I need to dance it out!

Meanwhile, let's start with the weather and get that out of the way.

On the 4th of this month, I deemed it necessary to take a picture of the outside temperature reading on my dashboard. Momentous occasion!!

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Since then, we've seen...

Rain:

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Ice:

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Glimmers of spring:

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Snow:

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And, thankfully, an occasional (rare) glimpse of blue sky:

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In that order. Sheesh. One of my benchmarks for April weather has always been Ali's birthday -- 26 years ago today it was the day before Easter. I'd been in the hospital for 2.5 days and, in that time, watched the leaves pop OPEN. I went home on Easter and we had dinner outside. It was, perhaps, slightly above average, but I know what is possible in the middle of April... and it can be so much better than this!!

Heh. See you tomorrow.

 

16 April 2013

Twenty-six!

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Hanging out with Daddy and Kate during an early breakfast at the cottage.

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Always exercising creativity...

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...while taking time for play...

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...and exercise! (haha)

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It's my sweet girl's 26th birthday today! And Charlie Chaplin's, too!

Happy Birthday, Alison! I love you so much, and am excited about the big year ahead!!

15 April 2013

Right now

Winter is just not letting loose its grip! Nothing about 2013 is like last year, or even "normal." I'm just working at keeping it together day-to-day.

image from www.flickr.com

Bleeding hearts in my garden at this time last year!

With that great set up (and thanks to Kym), here's what's holding together in my life  . . . RIGHT NOW.

Watching: Call The Midwife, Elementary, Blue Bloods; I like Hawaii Five-O for background music and occasional eye candy; loved House of Cards on Netflix; if I had cable, I'd surely be watching Madmen (I just finished a marathon catching-up of last season); if I lived in the U.K., I'd be watching The Great British Sewing Bee.

Reading: Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe

Sewing! I've been threatening for the past few years to really get my sewing maching humming. I have the pieces for a quilt all cut out and ready to go, but now it'll be a race to see whether that pulls me in before I'm completely overcome by the hand-sewing/embellishing craze.

I recently signed up for Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Applique, Beading and Embroidery on Craftsy. Not an inexpensive class, I watched the whole series over a couple-few days on my lunch hour and can't believe how much I learned about sewing! There's a great Donna Karan jacket pattern included in the price, and a one-time discount on kit or project materials from Alabama Chanin. (I took advantage of an even deeper discount on April Fool's Day for some of my materials. I'm in no particular rush, and there's much to do before I needle my thread, so I'll just keep watch for further promotions.) It's the finer details and geeky stuff that has me totally pumped about hand sewing, not to mention a serious Alabama/Natalie Chanin love affair going on over here.

Knitting: Mindless is in order much of the time right now, so another color-blocked Vintage Baby Cardigan is on the needles. I have plans for more!

I should be knitting wedding things. I've stalled half-way on the shawl. I made a mistake resulting in the need to start Ali's gauntlets over. I never quite got the attendants' off the ground... problems with procuring suitable materials... there's still a chance for it all to come together; we'll see. Ali's are the priority.

Listening to: Justin Timberlake. Macklemore. Rhianna.

Thinking about: Alison's wedding.

Dreading: The idea of cleaning out my studio/office/junk room in preparation for a little remodeling project. This little project will result in a big (and overdue) paint job in our living area and some major rearranging of a few spaces.

Planning: An overnighter in Milwaukee next month. A quick trip to Lake Geneva later in summer. Not quite in planning mode for Scotland, but soon.

Celebrating: Small accomplishments and little victories.

Drinking: Coconut water.

Itching to: Go outside without a jacket on; opening windows and doors!

Needing to: Get some things ship-shape for upcoming company. (Some of these projects make me feel like a candidate for Hoarders.)

Organizing: Everything.

How about YOU?  What's up with you?


08 April 2013

Can you believe it?

It's another FO!

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I needed a quick fix and wanted mindless knitting. I saw a sample of this little sweater at my LYS (Iris Fine Yarns) and was intrigued by both the simplicity and the construction.

I really didn't have any specific yarn in mind when I bought the pattern, but the stash is quite plentiful in the fingering-weight department so I wasn't worried. When I spotted my Color Affection leftovers, I knew it would be perfect for a sophisticated, nontraditional baby cardi!

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Knitting from the bottom up, I worked one garter ridge in black and then switched to red, using up all but a couple of yards. I reserved only enough to crochet a few button loops or the like if necessary. (Now it'll get completely used up in a hexi-not-puff).

The pattern gives the option and direction for either a center or an off-center opening, and for closure with buttons or bows, etc. The choice was definitely off-center for me, but the manner of closure wasn't clear until the very end.

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I have had a little Fibonacci-on-the-brain lately, even thinking about knitting a new one for myself to correct some of the mistakes I made with the first. I love my Fib, but it's a bit too wide and a bit too short and the buttonholes are weirdly placed. I decided to get my fix by doing a little Fibonacci-inspired sequencing (1-2-3) to stripe the gray and black yarns on the top part of the sweater.

I'd overlooked the very first instruction to slip the first stitch of every row and, combined with the color changes, the edge ended up looking pretty messy. The off-center opening drawing attention to that area even without buttons or bows, which would only draw more focus, I really had to come up with an idea to clean that up.

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After finding the perfect buttons at Iris -- twice, I might add, because I bought them once and then lost them (somewhere in my house or a project bag) so had to buy them again -- I decided to pick up and knit a buttonband that would also make a lovely clean edge!

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It's not perfect, but I am quite happy with how it turned out. I will definitely knit this pattern again!

 

03 April 2013

Low Tide

Oh. Hi! Yeah. So remember me? I used to knit. Well, I still do knit. I knit a lot, actually -- knitting happens almost everyday! Those t-shirts and posters about "knitting is cheaper than therapy" and "I knit so I don't kill people"? I could be the poster girl!!

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I have finished something.

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  • Project: Low Tide -- Low Tide by Emily Wessel, Tin Can Knits
  • Modifications: Short rows to even up fronts/back, add waist shaping; sewn hem; a few rows of garter stitch to finish edges of sleeve caps
  • Yarn: Make.Do Be Fingering/Sock Superwash, two skeins (?-need to double-check this)
  • Needle: US 4
  • Start to Finish: August 18, 2012 - March 10, 2013

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Back view showing decreases at top (mostly as written) and then increases near the bottom (waist shaping, I guess, though I thought of it more as butt accommodation).

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Another view of same (and the sewn hem).

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Front -- you can pick out  the short-row wraps.

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In this side view, it's very evident how the short rows changed the shape. That dress form is Ali's -- and so-not-my-size -- so the fit/drape is wonkier than in real life.

You can get a full run-down (as full as it gets) of my mods/reasoning on my Ravelry project page.

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Here I am reflected in the very flattering mirror of a AllSaints Spitalfields dressing room last month in Chicago (also wearing my first-ever pair of skinny jeans tucked into my oh-so-awesome boots!). The sweater looks okay, but I have lost at least 35 pounds since I began knitting and, while the overall style is rather forgiving, it is definitely too big. It's also knitwear, so there's some naturally occurring stretching out as it's worn and eventually it was falling off my shoulders.

I'll wear it a few more times and then decide what to do. Give it away? One of my Knit Night buddies suggested ripping it out and starting over! I've actually done that before, so it's a possibility.

How are you all doing? What are you knitting? Finished anything lately?

 

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