The American Thanksgiving

The American Thanksgiving, a fantastic article in the New York Times.  I watched every single video (each around 1 minute) and saved every single recipe, and I'm going to make room for at least one if not two on our Thanksgiving menu. Christmas? May be pretty flavorful around here!!

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Today:

 

It's a puzzle kind of day!

A video posted by Vicki Mothes (@vicki.knitorious) on

   

 


And...

...it's WINTER.

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We had our first snowfall (not amounting to much) of the season in the wee hours of the morning. More significant is the 30-degree difference between yesterday's high temp (mid-60F) and today's. And wind... oh, brrrrr, that wind!

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Very late last winter, there was a small rip in one of the seams on the back of my jacket that I hadn't got around to fixing. One morning, on my way out of the coffee shop, the door handle got caught in that small rip and suddenly it was A HUGE GAPING HOLE! I finally got around to fixing it last weekend -- you know, before I actually needed to wear my winter jacket -- and I am very glad I did. Mending is not my favorite thing, but I've a new appreciation since I began hand-sewing some of my own clothing -- and some things are really worth fixing!

Jacket, earmuffs, and Squad Mitts are called for today!


Eye Candy Friday

I've really been feeling the need to create -- to make a little mess and, hopefully, to create something beautiful.

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On Wednesday, I found a little time to dye a couple of skeins of yarn.

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I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. "Aegean" seems a pretty good color name.

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I'm even happier that a new box of yarn was just delivered and I'll be taking more time -- this weekend, even -- to get messy and creative.

Mickey

Happy 88th Birthday Mickey Mouse!!


Fried Chicken Meatballs

The Think-Write-Thursday topic for today is "a favorite recipe."

I've made Melissa Joulwan's Fried Chicken Meatballs from her new book Well Fed Weeknights (we love her cookbooks) a couple of times recently! Oh, my, are they ever good -- you could say that they're a new favorite! They taste like chicken nuggets -- but are so much better!! We've enjoyed them in or alongside minestrone soup and spaghetti.

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I made them most recently for my birthday dinner. (I snapped a photo of my cart that day -- the checkout line was a little longer than usual, so I had time to fool around). Along with the meatballs, I also cooked up pasta and topped it with fresh tomato sauce & burrata cheese, and made my favorite chocolate cake, La Bete Noire.

So good.

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I walked in the kitchen door the other night and saw every spice container we own lined up on the kitchen counter. I wish I'd taken a photo of that -- I really meant to! I'd had some difficulty finding chili powder the other day and I guess it was time to do something. Rusty took them all out of the cupboard, I consolidated or tossed and put it all back! Obviously, I'd never really KonMari'd the spice cupboard before! That wasn't really on my list, but I must admit that it's much easier now to find what we're looking for.

Here's the stripped down recipe for the meatballs. Mel's full recipe includes a side of greens, along with some cooking options and tips.

Fried Chicken Meatballs

1-1/2 lbs. ground chicken
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. tapioca starch/flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
pinch dried marjoram
pinch ground cayenne pepper
pinch ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground chicken, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl; mix well.

Combine the tapioca starch/flour, salt, paprika, pepper, sage, garlic & onion powders, marjoram, cayenne pepper, and cloves in a small bowl.

Moisten your hands, then measure and roll rounded tablespoons of ground chicken into balls. Roll each ball in the seasoned tapioca starch/flour, then set aside on the baking sheet.

Melt 1 tablespoon oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat, 2–3 minutes. Place half of the meatballs in a single layer in the pan; do not crowd. Cook, occasionally turning, until browned on all sides, 4–5 minutes; transfer to the baking sheet. Add more oil (1–2 teaspoons) to the pan and brown the remaining meatballs; transfer to the baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Bon appetit!


Gotta get out of this funk

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This might help. I bought it at Jill Draper's Open Studio Show last month. It's under consideration for the Project Peace Cowl. I should look around some more, but I sure do love this color!

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This sort of thing always helps... while Mum & Dad cleaned out the garage, Jun was "helping."    


Balance & Peace & Giving

It's been a week since Election Day and my stomach is still in knots. I'm grateful to Kym for sharing her Little Bits of Good action list; hopefully, in numbers and over time, we can be heard and make a difference. I don't have a lot of money or free time for extra-curriculars, but I'll be doing what I can -- making contributions, continuing subscriptions, calling out racism when I see it, writing letters and making phone calls to let the people elected to represent me know how I feel. Represent!

Alarming thought:
Am I turning into my dad???

I do not want to be angry and bitter! I need to be strong, diligent, watchful and heard... but I need not be consumed. I need to take care of myself, my family, my home. I need...

Balance. (Kym! How lucky are we that she is so thoughtful, eloquent, and willing to share... and that it's NaBloPoMo, so there's something everyday!!)

Download

And Peace. Christina Campbell's Project Peace 2016 is an effort to share and help spread ideas on how to choose peace. A simple cowl pattern (free download through 12/21) meant to be knit over the course of 21 days, is accompanied by 21 daily tips. I am in!!

(A March Through Time, Christina's cowl pattern from last year's Knit-/Walk-Along, is still one of my favorites! It's freshly washed, blocked, and ready to go... whenever something more than a light jacket & scarf is needed.)

And also Giving. It's go-time for the MDK Giftalong! I already have a couple of gift-knits for the kiddos on the needles.

In a broader sense, though, I noticed over the weekend that the Salvation Army bell-ringers are out (and Santa's at the mall -- I am down for Christmas this year, and maybe it's our unseasonably warm weather, but wow -- doesn't it seem EARLY for Santa??) anyway... for starters, I vow to give something every time I pass a red bucket this year.


Weekending

There was a frost on Friday night, but it wasn't a hard/killing frost. I'm glad we brought the succulents inside -- and they will stay inside -- but it's starting to feel a little freaky. Green grass. Flowers...

This was my sunny view of the Garden Room from the kitchen table on Saturday morning, and I can't think of a nicer way to set the tone.

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I don't know what's gotten into me, but here we have Christmas horning in on the front porch before Halloween has even been cleaned up and while the grass is still green! And Christmas music! I finally had a chance to listen to all the tracks on Leslie Odom's Simply Christmas album and it is spectacular -- mostly familiar songs, but with a smooth, jazzy spin. If I had to describe it, Johnny Mathis meets Vince Guaraldi comes fairly close.

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Yesterday morning, the first thing I saw on Facebook was that my daughter had marked herself safe after (during) the earthquake(s) in New Zealand! There were a lot of aftershocks, big ones. Check out this article on The Guardian -- scroll down a bit and you'll see a graphic showing the activity over a 12-hour period; Maddy is currently with "Kiwi family" in Blenheim, and had just been in Kaikoura last weekend. You can read her account of the quake here.

After running around a bit on Saturday -- shopping, lunch, etc. -- I spent a quiet Sunday at home knitting and puttering while also keeping an eye on the news from NZ and an unfortunate football game.

Oh, and I made a really yummy meatloaf! Next time, I'll make two!!


Close up

One of the "Awesome Christmas presents" currently on the needles.

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Big yarn. Big needles. Quick knitting. Still a bit of fiddly finishing.

There is time.


The (Knitting) List

Currently active on the needles:

  • 2nd pair of Squad Mitts
  • Awesome Christmas present for Jun
  • Awesome Christmas present for Gin

Currently contemplating:

Some (not all) of those being contemplated as possible gifts.

 

I think I've found this year's addition to the Christmas music collection! Is it too early? Never for a voice like that...


Friday

The sky was dramatic and beautiful this morning... difficult to capture in photos (especially since I was driving). This is the pretty but far less dramatic view to the east when I arrived at work. There are the fewest of leaves still clinging to that tree!

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We might have our first hard frost of the season tonight, which means that these guys have spent their last night on the deck until next spring! The Garden Room will become decidedly more garden-like later today.

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I re-worked the bind off on that Squad Mitt last night. Turns out, I don't think I started off quite right... but I also watched/tightened up my tension and it made all the difference! It not only feels better, but looks better too.


Knittin' on

Knit on,
with confidence and hope,
through all crises.

--Elizabeth Zimmermann

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There's another pair of Squad Mitts on the needles.

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Well, actually, one off and another about to go on.

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I'm using only three colors this time. Shades of gray and natural, though there's a fair bit of purple-blue in those grays.

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I think I'm going to re-work the bind-off. My regular "loose" bind off on the first pair could have been just a bit stretchier. On this pair, I used the k2tbl method and it's just a bit too stretchy.

It gives me something to do while I grieve, process, and think.

Book club was helpful last night, too.

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Meanwhile, the weather's sure been nice. There's a dip on the way, though, and we may even have our first hard frost of the season tomorrow night.


The unimaginable

I feel, alternately, as though someone's knocked the wind out of me, as if I'm going to faint or puke or burst into tears or all of the above; sad, depressed, angry, duped, betrayed, utterly embarrassed.

I can barely say the man's name. I've never understood how such an incompetent, unqualified, disgusting man became an actual candidate, and will never understand how he became our leader.


I'm With Her

...and with them... because of them. (Fingers & toes are crossed!)

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Kids were over for some pics yesterday.

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Seems like a good day to share a few.

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We even got a little raking done!


FO: Squad Mitts

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I used leftovers from a few different projects -- the dark blue from my TTL Mystery Shawl '14 (love that color!), the gray from both Affectionately Mine and Vintage Baby Cardigan I, the variegated from my 2016 Rhinebeck Shawl) -- along with a mini-skein from Backyard Fiberworks that I picked up at Indie Untangled/Rhinebeck 2016 providing POP.

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I think my new Malojos Gauge Ring, picked up at Rhinebeck (Happy Birthday To Me!), is shown off quite nicely. Ha!

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More of these will be coming up (another pair cast on last night)!


Firsts

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Timehop tells me that this was my first-ever post on Facebook, 8 years ago today.

That's the day we elected Barack Obama as President of the United States -- our first-ever African American president.

Fingers crossed for Tuesday and a win for Hillary Clinton -- the first-ever woman to be elected president!

VOTE!

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Have you seen THIS:

Pre-ordered this morning with two bonus tracks available for immediate download! I hope, hope, hope that when the full "mixtape" is released on 12/2 that I'll be able to buy it as a gift for Maddy -- it's PERFECT! Even in NZ, she is crazy about Hamilton!!


Day 3: With the random already!

That gorgeous "nonphotogenic" tree I posted the other day? Practically bare naked today! So I am reveling in the colorful leafy goodness for as long as I'm able, to wit...

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It fairly glows.

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Prisma-tized Catalpa leaves.

I had a busy day off yesterday -- good-busy -- beginning with a walk to the credit union, enhanced by TWO visits from Ali & Gin, surprised by a birthday package all the way from NZ, making good progress on some work projects, also making homemade chicken soup, and ending with a World Series win for the Cubs! I was dozing off a bit during that last part...

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The rule is, a package/present that arrives in the mail can be immediately opened! There was a cute arty (in that 3rd-grade-way) card full of love from my girl Maddy, a tea towel with some great "Merino Ram" graphics, and a delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramello bar -- SO GOOD! I sure miss her, but it's an awful lot of fun to follow along on her adventures (a new video up yesterday!).

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Gratuitous granddaughter pics! She was 6 months old yesterday, can you believe it?? She's sitting up on her own (under watchful eye), and almost always has something in her mouth!

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No sign of teeth yet, tho.

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Here's a little #tbt prompted by Carole & Kat's Think-Write-Thursday. The topic for today:

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YOUR FAVORITE TEACHER

Well, that's just about the easiest thing ever! Hands-down, that would be Mrs. Kelly! She was my first grade teacher at Wayne Thomas School in Highland Park, IL. Having attended three different schools with three different teachers during my kindergarten year -- of which I have the vaguest of memories -- I think I was definitely ready for someone like her.

Mrs. Kelly was young and pretty, and so very kind. I was the youngest in my class, and maybe she was extra nice because of that. My mom had all five of us by then; she begged (successfully) to have me admitted early!

I thought of Mrs. Kelly at least daily for years (well into my 20s), whenever I'd have to figure out my left from my right -- it was the chalkboard in the front of her room that I'd summon to memory (and I'd even sometimes turn to "orient" myself to the room), with the big hands tacked up on either side of the board: LEFT / RIGHT!

I absolutely lived for the big gold stars that she put on spelling papers! I've always been a darn good speller... striving to earn those gold stars certainly didn't hurt.

We only lived in Highland Park for year, but I'll never forget Mrs. Kelly. I consider her my first teacher and have always been thankful for the wonderful start she gave me.


FO: Rhinebeck Shawl

Let's talk about some knitting!

When it became clear that I wouldn't get a sweater finished for Rhinebeck, I concentrated on finishing a shawl that I'd started with some of my new crazy colorful hand-dyed yarn.

I had hoped to bring a sweater to Rhinebeck, anyway, even if it wasn't the sweater. My bright idea being to go vintage, wearing the amazing Sasha Kagan "Cable Leaf Coat," that my sister Sharon knit in the 1990s. It's the cover sweater of Vogue Knitting Fall 1993 -- Rowan + chenille + need I say more?! Alas, it was WAY TOO BULKY to bring along (I tried and it took up a full 1/4 of my suitcase). It was way too warm to wear it on either day, not to mention it's a beast to carry around, so I'm glad I didn't force it.

So, anyway, instead of a Rhinebeck Sweater, I had a Rhinebeck Shawl:

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  • Ravelry Project Page: 2016 Rhinebeck Shawl
  • Pattern: Close To You by Justyna Lorkowska (free pattern download on Ravelry)
  • Yarn: Make.Do "Be" Fingering/Sock, colorway "Party In Here"
  • Needles:  US 6... long & straight
  • Start to Finish:  October 3-12, 2016

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Big, big love for this project. It was a fun pattern to knit, and it's wonderful to wear (and I've been wearing it a lot)! It's mostly garter stitch, but there's a variety of different textures & edges, from plain garter & YOs to picots & sawtooth. A great pattern for a wildly variegated yarn!


NaBloPoMo VIII

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It's November, which means it's time for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) -- little sister to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). (A very little sister.) I've participated, with varying success (but mostly success!) since 2009, and I don't see any reason for stopping the insanity now. 2016 has been a crazy year, so it seems only natural!

I plan to post some about my knitting, about menu planning and cooking, about the weather, the sky, and probably a tiny little unavoidable bit about politics -- I have plans! No doubt there'll be a little football, some sewing, the kids... hopefully, something for everyone.

For now, though...

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This is a beautiful tree that catches my eye many times a day right now through the window at work -- in the most non-photogenic setting. You know how I fix that? PRISMA! Thank you to Blue Sky and Lovely Clouds for their contribution.

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And, because I can't help myself... hostas & leaves outside the garage at home. Hostas... how did I ever *not* love them. It is full-on autumn, peeps!

Let the madness begin!! I hope you'll join me... by reading, at least, and letting me know if something rings your bell.


Right now...

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That's a lot of leaves!!

Acknowledging... That my birthday, which falls just two days before Election Day, is going to require some serious attention and damn good mojo.

Anticipating... Election Day! While I doubt the madness will end, it'll at least be... the end of something. I can't complain about the ads because I don't watch live TV, and I use NoMoRobo to curb the unwanted calls and soliticitations, but FB is full of it (and I admit to getting caught up a bit... sometimes...). Mostly, hopefully, GOD PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I am anticipating not having to even think about the possibility of Donald Trump as our president. I do not understand it one single iota -- never did, never will -- the man is as unfit for office as he is disgusting.

And that's a lot. /sorrynotsorry /iamfinishednow

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Delighted by... Junah playing with an old Fisher-Price Family Farm that my mom had. It's been in my trunk for months... but Jun came grocery shopping with me yesterday and he spotted it when we loaded up the groceries! We brought it in the house and he played with it for quite a while -- first on the kitchen floor, then in the living room. Then we played "jump" -- where I sit in my chair and he stands on my footstool -- bounce & JUMP! Then we played with "circles" -- an old Discovery Toys game -- and then he was goofing around and bonked his head and wanted to go home... or to the farm. ?? His other grandparents live on a farm and I thought he was telling me that he wanted to go home or to the farm... which is fine, because they're amazingly great and wonderful people (love you, Bob & Kathy... but REALLY, Junah??). Heheh, he wanted to take the farm home with him! And so we did.  ;)

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Knitting... Squad Mitts and some stealth Christmas presents for the kiddos. I would likely have a pair of mitts finished had I not gone full-on AUTO and knit well beyond where I was supposed to begin the thumb gusset on mitt #2... so a little rip & re-knit was in order. Back on track and for sure tonight! It is definitely getting to be mitt season, and I like that these are in fingering-weight yarn.

Looking forward to... WINTER! For the simple reason that it marks the end of road construction around here. OhMyGOD, it has been something else this year.

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Planning... NaBloPoMo! Call me crazy, but I can't NOT do it after all these years.

Reading... PAGES: Room... making progress. AUDIO: The Time Traveler's Wife -- that's a long book -- I'm about half-way. I've been enjoying it, for the most part, but they just got married and I've rolled my eyes a time or two... I should stick with it, right?

Sewing... Hopefully soon. I've had some fabric for a while now to make new window treatments in the bathroom.

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

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


Weekending

I slept. A lot.

I cooked. A lot.

I did some shopping, some laundry, some knitting.

I chatted with my sis.

I had a hair appointment.

I hung out with the fam.

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A trio of Color Break Hats... fini! So adorable.

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Squad Mitts... like knitters' candy! So many flavor combinations... perfect for leftovers and mini-skeins (things of which I have plenty!).


Reunion

B-bye Wisconsin!

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Hello New Jersey/New York!

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(Statue of Liberty is a shadowy dot just to right of center.)

I had a wonderful return trip to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, again staying with my besties, Cara and Ann! One big highlight of the trip was meeting Cara's kiddos! The last time I visited, her eldest was 9m old -- now she's 8, and has a 6yo sister! They're gorgeous, sweet, and lovely. And, of course, it was lovely to see Poe again at Ann's, and to meet the girls -- Violet & Hyacinth -- at The Pugshack! They are adorable, funny, and playful!

And the merriment begins!

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We headed north late Friday morning, checking into our Airbnb in Kerhonkson before going over to the Indie Untangled trunk show in Kingston. I met & hugged Lee Wittenstein there after many years of online friendship! I laughed when she said that she recognized me because of my shoes. Who knew? Those "foot selfies" could be just as important as those with your face!

Saturday dawned frosty...

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...and so beautiful! This are views from the deck at our house.

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It just kept getting prettier! There were deer out there both mornings (a couple of visible in the lower right-hand corner) -- I counted at least 8 on Sunday!

I didn't have a "Rhinebeck Sweater," per se, but I did have a quickly sewn top-length Alabama Chanin Sweater that I cut out and made by machine on Sunday afternoon!

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I wore it on Saturday with my skirt, tights & ankle boots, and my "Rhinebeck Shawl." (No photos of that shawl yet!)

I was delighted to run into Beverly, organizer of the sew-along that prompted the making of that skirt, who was also wearing hers! I was really a bit surprised at how many people recognized my skirt for what it was -- some because they'd "watched" me make it via Facebook, Instagram and/or blog posts, but I think others just recognized it as "Alabama Chanin."

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Documentation was not my thing, apparently; my one and only photo from the festival is above. It was crowded on Saturday but not overwhelming. I heard people talking about how it seemed a bit lighter compared to some of the previous years. There were certainly crowds and very long lines at some vendors' booths on both days, but I had zero interest in that kind of frenzy -- in terms of yarn, anyway. I did stand in line for food -- both days -- specifically, falafel -- both days. Yes, it was that good!! Had there been chicken pot pies, I'd have been there at least once; inexplicably, I skipped the artichokes french altogether. I did treat myself to a chocolate milkshake (or two).

Of interest to me, instead, were the people -- my people -- family! I was so happy to meet up with so many old friends & new: Bookish Wendy, Amy Herzog, Margaux Hufnagel (check out her new Etsy shop!), Thea Colman, Teresa, Brunilda, Caro Sheridan, Jennie The Potter (check out her new Kickstarter campaign!), Kay Gardiner, Ann Shayne, Kirsten Kapur, Gale Zucker, Angela Tong, Yarny Old Kim, Lisa SouzaJessaLu, Kathleen, Ruth, Leigh SpencerMy Sandy... even Rachel from Wisconsin, who I used to regularly knit with a few years ago before she moved... I am sure I've forgotten some!

Rhinebeck felt just like a family reunion! Everyone gathered in one place, run-ins and quick chats with bunches of lovely people, but always left feeling like you didn't get enough time together...

On Sunday morning, we stopped by Kelder's Farm to see Gnome Chomsky -- once THE largest garden gnome in the world (now, apparently, third-largest)!

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That's a new Baggu tote bag from Mason-Dixon Knitting resting at the toe of that undeniably LARGE gnome...

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Cara carried it all weekend, while also wearing some pretty spectacular sweaters -- but this bag garnered a ton of attention, comments and questions!!

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Before we knew it, we were headed south again. Yes, I wore my Catamount Tunic (over an A-line Dress) on Sunday! Ann & Cara convinced me to wear it -- there are precious few times I can wear that around an appreciative audience! That's another Color Break Hat, this time for Junah.

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I regrouped on Monday, sorted through stuff and packed my suitcase. Ann took Peggy and I to Swell Taco for crispy chicken tacos... and margaritas! Yum.

On Tuesday morning, I bid a fond farewell to the pugs and began my journey home.

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LIRR > NJ Transit > Air Train > EWR-MKE > Shuttle to Parking > Find my Car > 2-hr Drive Home!

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I'd finished Junah's hat on Monday night and started one for Kate. I had plenty of time at EWR, so had some lunch and even little knitting/phone-charging time.

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Michigan's western shoreline.

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Wisconsin's eastern shoreline.

It was a wonderful trip! I'm so happy I went. Not sure when, but I hope to return again...


The head game

This cute new hat is so... TASTY!

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I don't even remember the pattern. I do know that I knit it when Jün was wee, but already too big by the time it was finished.

Meanwhile...

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YIKES, SPIKES!!  ;)


Weekending

Yes! I downloaded & started listening to The Time Traveler's Wife over the weekend. I'm glad I did... so far, so good.

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It was a beautiful early autumn weekend. The leaves are starting to fall and gather... it's just the beginning!

I did some sewing (a new top), some knitting (a new hat for Gin, my current shawl), some cleaning out and getting rid of stuff (big stuff, even, like a desk and an upholstered chair), some cooking (roast beef, split pea soup), and some hanging out with the fam.

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I had Ali drop the kiddos off for a while yesterday afternoon... I should have left the football hat on Gin when I took the photo! It doesn't get more "game day" than this!!

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I started a Color Break Hat for Gin. The pattern uses slip stitches for interesting texture and to help prevent pooling in highly variegated yarns. My yarn is more along the lines of "very" rather than "highly" variegated and I am loving it so far. This hat and/or one or two more will be my airplane knitting later this week.


Right now: (already) October

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Admiring... A freshly painted/touched-up garage! The back door is nice & bright again!

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The gable isn't supposed to be purple, but the maroon fades in the sun. Apparently, red is a difficult color to make both lightfast and environmentally safe.

I'm going to have to find a spot for that sink before long.

Anticipating... Rhinebeck! I'll be winging my way east in a week to hang out & knit in the Hudson Valley. I'm so looking forward to seeing, visiting with, and hugging some friends. It's been a long time.

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Delighted by (still)... my favorite (so far) artwork by Addison, done when he was in 2nd grade. He's now in 4th and I just had to have my own print of this... 11 x 14 arrived in the mail yesterday!

Dreading... some book work that I've let slide. I've concentrated instead on people, events, the moment, enjoying the weather... knowing full well that I'll have to bury my head in the books at some point. Better to do that when it's not so nice outside, though, non? We all know what's coming...

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All the colors of the rainbow! And more!!

Knitting... I've finished a pair of undocumented mittens for Jun, a sweater & hat for Gin, worked a bit on LOLA (until I lost a cone of yarn) (yet not found)... and have begun a shawl called Close To You (free pattern on Ravelry) using some freshly dyed yarn.

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(I've been dyeing!)

Kvetching... LOLA was to be my "Rhinebeck Sweater." It looks like that's not going to happen, but... I have a pretty solid back-up plan!

Looking forward to... a clear calendar! After Rhinebeck, there is almost nothing but a hair appointment on my calendar for months. Pinch me! I can't even believe it. (Knocking on wood!)

Planning... a big trip that's a long ways off. I've never planned a trip so far in advance... it's so early that I can't even buy a plane ticket yet!

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Reading... PAGES: I've finished Across Five Aprils, and have picked up Room... which I've sort of dreaded, but so far so good. AUDIO: I've just finished listening to Code Name Verity and liked it a lot -- I'm glad I listened to it. (I've been reading a lot of wartime books!) I'm not 100% sold on The Time Traveler's Wife for my SciFi square, but whatever I decide, it's going to be audio!

Sewing... I've been working a bit, here and there, on my "Magdalena" Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic. I may do a little bit of machine sewing over the weekend, if things come together.

Watching... Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis. We recently caught the last season on PBS, so have been catching up on some that we'd missed.

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


FO: Murre for Gin

I knit this adorable hat using leftovers from Gin's Elwood, and I couldn't be happier (except that I wish I'd knit it one size larger) (listen to the voices in your head!).

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I used my I-cord maker to make the ties (in mere minutes!).

I used all of the purple leftovers, subbing in the white to finish that section and also to carry throughout for the lifted stitches. With the exception of white, the other colors are striped in the same sequence as the sweater. It coordinates with the sweater in a very matchy way without matching.

There are still leftovers! I will likely riff on this pattern again...

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This is the best modeled shot I could manage yesterday. Selfies with a wiggly, grabby 5-month old aren't easy! She grabs for everything and is almost desperate to instantly get whatever-it-is into her mouth -- a continuous motion. (I had to save my phone!)

Her mum says that she had a bad night last night and the morning wasn't so good, either; she may be getting close to cutting a tooth.

Or she has a cold.

Also, I predict that she'll be sitting up on her own for extended periods this month. She is absolutely fascinated by Jün and his antics... I get the feeling that she can't wait to join in!!

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Breaking news from New Zealand via Snapchat:

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Madventures. She's been adventuring like mad, but will soon be settling in for a little bit...


Quick Minestrone Soup

If it's Sweater Weather, then it's certainly also Soup Weather.

It's chilly today, a little breezy and rainy... I'm making soup tonight!

I shared this recipe almost 7 years ago... you might have missed it! It's so good, and so quick. I'll sub a whole bunch of fresh spinach for the frozen, and might add some fish or shrimp to the pot.

QUICK MINESTRONE SOUP

16-oz. can cannellini beans
16 oz. can red kidney beans
16 oz. can seasoned-for-pasta tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. orzo
season to taste

Combine beans and tomatoes in a large pot.  Add chicken broth, spinach, and orzo.  Bring to a boil, stirring to break up spinach.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender.  Makes about 10 cups of soup.


Sweater weather

Gin would like you to know that sweater weather has arrived!

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And she couldn't be happier... nor cuter. Jün has a new pair of mittens, too, but wasn't interested in modeling!

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Autumn leaves are falling.


Lazy woman washes & blocks handknits

If you're familiar with #konmari, you know that feeling "joy" is a big part of the process.

I ran across this vest/wrap as I was #knitkonmari-ing and, at first glance, not a lot of joy... mainly because it turned out a bit small/short for my liking.

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It's the Weekend Wrap by Julie Weisenberger. I bought both the pattern & yarn at Blazing Needles in SLC with Margene -- when I joined her a few years ago for the knitters' retreat at Alta -- and those memories certainly do spark joy!

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I have since re-knit the Weekend Wrap a little larger and much more to my liking. (And if I can't find that stray cone of Habu Tsumugi Silk to continue Lola, it might just be my "Rhinebeck Sweater.") But I have also kept the original because it is so very forgiving... if I just scrunch it up and wrap it 'round my neck...  voila! It's a perfectly wonderful lightweight neutral scarf. The armholes aren't even visible (can you see them?). JOY IS SPARKED!

I have also frogged a couple of projects that no longer spark joy.

From this:

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...to this.

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And this:

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...becomes this.

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There are a few (so far) more to frog, but this is a good start; these have already been washed and made into neat hanks, ready for the next thing.

I've begun the washing process for the JOY-filled knits with the items that are easiest -- those items made from superwash wool, or that requiring little or no shaping/pinning for blocking/drying.

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I really didn't intend to hang those shawls on the line, but there are no points to pin out and they're hanging so nicely!

Lazy? I certainly felt lazy. (I am lazy.) (Yes, that's my flexible blocking mat also hanging on the line with a project affixed.)

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Ooof! Repair to be made.

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These were all thrown into the machine on the "handwash" cycle, and hung to dry -- either on the line or on my wooden drying rack -- except for Parcheesi, which I threw in the dryer on the lowest of settings. I am so happy to be heading into autumn and winter with clean & fresh knits!

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Hello, 4-day Weekend!! I will be doing final prep for & photographing a wedding tomorrow evening -- my last wedding of the summer! A friend's daughter, a cousin, working an acquaintance's daughter's wedding (2nd-shooting with my niece), a co-worker, and now a former co-worker of my daughter's (working)... it's been the most wedding-est summer of my life! <3

On Saturday, I actually plan to dye some yarn. (Shhh!) The shop is in need, there are a couple of special orders hanging...

Sunday will be COLLAGE DAY! Art day was thwarted a couple of weeks ago, but that only means we've had that much longer to amass materials. OMG. I cannot wait to dive in.

On Monday... I've nothing planned yet for Monday. I might be ready to have a first look at the wedding photos by then.  ;)

And somewhere in there, time with the kiddos!!

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Do you like the larger photos? Are they too large?? What are your plans for the weekend... whether 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-day?? (Or more? Vacation?)


FO: Elwood for Gin

Don't fall off your chair... the knitting is certainly not fast & furious around here, but I have managed to finish this adorable little sweater for Gin!

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I love the button band/shawl collar combo in this pattern.

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There isn't a modeled shot yet, but you'll be among the first to know!

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I am completely in love with the ladybug buttons! When I posted on IG that I was in search of buttons, Ina Braun responded via email with photos of her extensive button selection! I mailed the sweater to her and after a little discussion, she sent it back with these and another contender... but it was these for me, all along.

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Serious cuteness... Gin's gonna blow it out of the water! I have enough leftover yarn to make a simple striped hat, and I think I'm going to do that!