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!


Ten on Tuesday: It's a blur

Ten on Tuesday:  5 Best of Summer / 5 for Fall

Well... what a summer.

At the beginning of it, I had no idea that I'd be bidding farewell to my sister and her family in addition to my daughter as they moved overseas! Ann & family had about 5-6 weeks to take care of things before moving to Spain for at least 2 years. Maddy planned, worked, and saved hard over the past year or so in order to spend the next year traveling and exploring in New Zealand.

It's been a super shitty summer in many respects, not the least of which was the death of Rusty's dad, and from the beginning I've made it a point to focus on the good stuff this summer -- and on the things that I can control.

 

Five Best Things I Did This Summer

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1 - I spent lots of time with the kiddos.

Kayaking

2 - I spent a few glorious days up north.

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3 - I did lots of art stuff -- viewing, participating, and even making.

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4 - I read books -- thanks to audiobooks, I've read more than I have in many a summer (winter, spring and fall).

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5 - I made time for Auntie Camp II before my nephews left for Spain -- abbreviated, but so much fun!

 

Five Things I'm Looking Forward to Doing This Fall

1 - Catching my breath. It was a very busy summer and I just need some time to collect my wits.

2 - Cooking. We've been planning our weekly menus and cooking at home for most of the summer, and I'm aiming to keep that going.

3 - Reading. That will certainly continue, and I'm still aiming for a BINGO by Thanksgiving.

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4 - Knitting & Sewing... and getting a grip. I just sewed some adorable ladybug buttons on a sweater for Gin (an FO post to come!), but I've somehow misplaced a cone of Habu Tsumugi Silk for another project; there's a "quick" A-line top that stalled awaiting binding at neck and arms; one thumb-less mitten for Jun that's awaiting a thumb and a mate. So much to organize. (I have been making progress at washing the knits, though!)

5 - A Getaway! I'll be spending a few days in the Hudson Valley with some friends next month -- knitting, laughing, cooking, eating, and going to a little thing called "Rhinebeck." It's been 9 years since I visited in the east and I cannot wait!!


Weekending

I let out a cheer on Friday afternoon when I got home and saw this:

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No more gaping hole covered with sheets of plywood. No more orange safety fence, cones, and flashing lights. There's still a bit of that on the next block and around the 'hood, but they are finishing up. Rusty already finessed the wonky bricks and the dirt/seed!

I had a smiley-faced visitor early on Saturday morning:

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She stayed with me 'til mid-morning. Such a delight. I don't often have just her in my care.

It was city-wide rummage sale day and, though I don't *need* anything, I couldn't resist stopping at a few that looked interesting.

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I spent a dollar and brought home three things, one of which was this sink... and the sink was FREE! It has some goofiness around the drain and may drip a bit, but I intend to use it outside and that doesn't really matter that much. I put it to work right away, re-over-dyeing an Eileen Fisher wrap in indigo that I'd just dyed the weekend before. It was originally a terrible-for-me pale peach color, but I bought it because a) I liked the shape, b) it was fabric I could "work" with, and c) it was on super-duper sale... that was quite a while ago, and I finally gave it a dunk (or three).

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I baptized myself!

On Sunday morning, I ran out with Kate to a fun little vintage market where her friend Claire had a booth. I found a sweet little bracelet made by Claire -- me, who usually wears nothing more than earrings. I'm wearing it today, along with a bracelet of similar style that was given to me a few years ago! What'll happen next?

On Sunday afternoon, Rusty & I attended the wedding of one of my coworkers at a park in Green Bay.

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It was a glorious afternoon for such a thing!

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The evening wasn't bad, either.

I hope your weekend was good! I am getting used to the idea of my daughter being on the other side of the world. Thankfully, it didn't take long for her to start blogging... and she's already had a tale or two to tell! Here's Post #1 and Post #2, and feel free to subscribe or follow along if you'd like. She will be leaving Auckland today headed for... I don't know exactly where! Hopefully, wherever it is, she'll find some wifi.  :)


Friday! Yay!!

It was a beautiful day yesterday:

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This morning, the view to the west as I walked over to the coffee shop

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Can't help but bust into the chorus for Purple Rain! It looked ominous, but didn't amount to much... and the sun is shining now.

The heavy equipment is gone, barricades are being rearranged, blacktop will be laid tomorrow! Happy Weekend!


Away she goes!

Last week, Wednesday, I drove over to help Maddy vacate her apartment and haul the remainder of her belongings back home. After a lot of hard work and saving, she was in the final stage of preparation for her year-long trip to New Zealand (and beyond).

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There was practice packing! And that is it... with the exception of hiking boots that she isn't wearing in these photos, it's all in there... clothing, shoes, toiletries, a towel, tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear. Believe it or not!

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There was detailing of the aforementioned hiking boots, making sure they were free of any and all dirt! Toothpicks were employed. (You can lose your footwear at entry if they're not spic & span.)

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There was a weekend in Milwaukee visiting friends, then a fare-the-well gathering at home with friends and family.

Here's her quirky & hilarious first GoPro video from a few nights earlier at home when Ali & the kiddos were over. Maddy's friends & coworkers chipped in and gave her a GoPro HERO Session as a gift! (I can't wait for more!!)

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Finally, it was departure day!! Kate, Maddy, Rusty & I all drove down to Chicago on Tuesday morning.

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"Travel without limits." (Serendipitous selfie backdrop!)

We had a marvelous farewell lunch at our favorite spot, The Purple Pig*, and then drove out to the airport.

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So.Ready.To.Go.

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So.Happy!

She will be traveling, exploring, discovering, hiking, paddling, and probably working a little bit, too. Maybe on a sheep farm! She will likely travel to other places, as well, such as Australia and Thailand where she has friends. And likely to Europe (Spain!) as she makes her way home next summer. That's getting way ahead of things tho...

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For now, it's enough that she's landed. Yesterday, it was 1 p.m. CST Wednesday/6 a.m. NZST Thursday when she arrived in Auckland. A little time travel! The next few days will be spent settling, acclimating, and preparing for... whatever happens next!

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After dropping her off at the airport, we drove back into the city for a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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Kerry James Marshall: Mastry is jaw-dropping. I barely took any photos because... you have to see this work in person. It's only up until Sept. 25th... so hurry!

The Propellor Group exhibition was also fascinating (thru Nov. 13th).

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Whew! That was one long day... I won't be making a habit of day-trips to Chicago!

*We had our favorite Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki along with Smashed Potatoes with Sheep Feta & Oregano, and Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Cheese & Honey. Then we got adventurous and tried a couple of new dishes: Housemade Gyros & Pita Bread with Pickled Beets & Pickled Turnips, and Squid Stuffed with Proscuitto & Bread Crumbs with Santorini Fava Puree & Charmoula. Oh my goodness, it was all simply delicious!


Summer of...

Change? Upheaval? Transition?

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Rusty's dad passed away peacefully on Friday while awaiting heart surgery that was scheduled for Monday.

Though they were never close, there was an accord which developed over the past several years. I only met him twice, myself; once when Kate was an infant and he visited us in Oregon, and when he and his wife made a trip to Wisconsin in the '90s.

Rest in peace Smokey.

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Gunther "Smokey" Mothes
Dec. 1, 1928 - Sep. 9, 2016


Heaven!

Nothin' like a front-row seat:

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A little slice of heaven right there on a Wednesday morning. It does a heart good. The new lines are in, the shop is open... hopefully it won't be too long before the road is open, too.

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Our community is in mourning following the devastating loss on Tuesday of a 12-year-old boy who was struck by a school bus on the way home from school; he died at the hospital a short while later. Details of the accident have not yet been made public. It's heartbreaking. And very frustrating, as traffic flow/management is a real issue in our small city right now, and I feel that it was likely a huge factor in this accident -- however it actually played out. A river runs through it -- and a canal. There used to be three thoroughfares to cross those waterways. A few years ago, an application for state funding was missed for one of those spans, and it was replaced with a "pedestrian" bridge... which sort of made sense once, when the library was right there, but it largely unused these days. A second bridge has been closed much of the summer for maintenance, and will be for yet a few more months, leaving only the third bridge open... one thoroughfare in a small city of nearly 16,000. The middle school sits on an island right between the second & third bridges...


Ten on Tuesday: Labor Day Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did On The Weekend

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WHY?

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1  -- I picked up Jün at the farmers market on Saturday morning and we ran errands together. They didn't have "car carts" at the grocery store when my kids were little, so that was a first (and I only knocked/bumped a few things!) (he was much happier and more excited than it looks). Then we hung out at my house -- reading (he's not tired of my excellent caterwauling), snacking, playing! I answered my first "WHY?" question from him... here we go!

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2 -- On Saturday evening, I watched the Wisconsin Badgers vs. LSU at Lambeau Field while I wove in the ends on my Green Bay Packers Scoreboard Cowl. I ran out of yarn 2 games short of a full season, but it is plenty long... and it is what it is! The ends are all in and I'm ready for grafting!

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3 -- On Sunday, Kate & I drove up to Door County for the day. We'd originally planned to do that last Wednesday, but ended up in Madison that day... doing what was supposed to be done the day the car crapped out.

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4 -- In addition to having my favorite lunch at my favorite place (which, after all these years, wasn't quite up to par... so we may expand our culinary horizons next time) (change is good), we stopped at a used book shop and also visited a couple of galleries. Rusty had work at Edgewood Orchard Gallery years ago, and it's changed and expanded quite a bit, especially outside where there is a nice courtyard and a large sculpture garden. I loved the detail on the dress of the sculpture above... also pretty epic hair. The "paint" is at The Hardy Gallery, which is housed in a 130+ year old warehouse on the dock at Ephraim. It's amazing. Rusty had and sold a piece at this gallery earlier in the season.

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5 -- The Door County trip was spontaneous, Sunday having originally been declared "art day." I didn't actually make anything on Sunday, but I did pull out my collection of old photos... I have a half-baked idea and am looking for some inspiration.

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6 -- I started ripping out one of the KonMari'd projects while riding in the passenger seat and finished it off on Sunday night.

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7 -- On Monday, I wound it into a hank on the swift, then soaked both hanks of reclaimed yarn and hung them to dry!

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8 -- I also still had that small bucket of indigo outside. I refreshed it, tied & folded up a few onesies, and gave 'em a dunk or two or three. I haven't yet tired of the BLUE MAGIC!!

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9 -- Did some good cooking... and eating. We've been quite diligent about making a weekly menu and sticking to it! One of the best things about it is that we almost always plan to make more, packing up leftovers right away into lunch-size containers, ready to grab in the morning. That means that I have this delicious salmon with cherry tomatoes and basil (baked in a foil packet... thanks Mark Bittman) to enjoy again today!!

10 -- I labored... purposefully and as little as possible, but one still needs clean clothes and a balanced checkbook!

I hope your weekend was grand!


Labor Day Weekend Book Bingo Update

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Lookie there! Progress. And I ought to finish All The Light We Cannot See by the end of the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, I finally made a decision about a new audio book -- one that wasn't even on the radar, of course. The Life We Bury is by Allen Eskens; it's not his first book, but it is his first novel. I'm only a few chapters in... and won't be surprised if that square also turns blue by the end of the weekend!

The book I chose to record for the "read aloud" square is Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper, which Junah LOVED! He was especially tuned in and entertained by my excellent caterwauling and barking. Haha.


Woollelujah!

And now, a little shameless promotion.

Remember last year when we were given a nice fruit box gift at Christmas time from our auto repair place? Well, we may have reached the next level already this year! Gah.

Mama's gotta shake it...

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I didn't pick up the box that was delivered from Fringe Supply Co. until last night, so I didn't have to agonize over the wait!

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I stocked the shop this morning, right on time, on my way to work! Available now...

WOOLLELUJAH!! A brand new bag from Fringe Supply Co. -- and it's HUGE! $25. Limited in-stock supply.
- made and printed in USA
- available in blue
- sturdy 10 oz. 100% cotton canvas
- 1.5"-wide cotton webbing straps
- gusseted bottom sits flat
- 18" wide x 13" high x 9" deep

(There are also a few of the discontinued SHEEPMOJI bags still in stock! $20.)
(And one or two MAKING - No. 1 / FLORA magazines that are getting hard to come by. $20.)
Shoot me an email ( vknitorious @ gmail ) if there's anything you'd like... I'm happy to ship!
_ _ _ _ _
 
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#knitkonmari (1)

I gathered all of my cowls, shawls, and scarves the other day and threw them on the bed...

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...to do some sorting.

There's a Purge Pile, a Frog Pile, a Purgatory Pile, and a Keeper Pile.

A few of the Keepers have already been washed and are drying (the ones that are less intensive in terms of blocking). I have had great success using my front-loader's handwash cycle for handknits. The hard part is finding places for drying!

Here's the Frog Pile (so far):

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When you look at them this way...

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Or this way (ooo, I love this one!)...

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It might be hard to see any problems. But problems there are! I don't wear these shawls for one reason or another. I love the yarn, though, and I'd like to knit with it again! Here are the issues:

  • I'd made at least three Baktus scarves using Opal Hundertwasser yarn and had done some riffing, back in the day, with varied success. That orange-purple one, in particular, has a weird shape.

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  • I like the Argosy scarf (above), also in Opal Hundertwasser, but would like it better if it were less matchy, just a tad wider, and maybe a bit shorter -- this may be a straight-up re-do with aforementioned mods.

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  • Lakedale was knit with yarn I'd dyed at Old Maiden Aunt in Scotland. I want to like it, and I've tried, but I just can't with that super ruffly ruffle.
  • I'd knit a Simply Garter Shawl for my sister in Mountain Colors 4/8's wool. Wrong! The colors are great, but it's so... not right. Also, Sharon didn't like shawls.

Stay tuned for more #knitkonmari adventures... if I can take a break from PRISMA!


Weekending: Making Art

I went to the opening reception for multi-media artist Sara Willadsen's exhibition "Partly Heard Song" at The Draw in Appleton on Friday night; the exhibition runs through September 25th.

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Then on Saturday, I attended a workshop entitled "Deconstructed Collage" led by artist Mel Kolstad. I learned a few things four years ago when I took a collage class, and learned a few more things on Saturday morning. And I have some ideas!

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I meant to take a few more photos to show how my piece came together, but a bunch of undocumented stuff happened between the photos above and below!

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I sacrificed a ca. 1976 baby knitting booklet (blasphemy!) to the materials collection, along with what I'm guessing was a Chinese lesson book -- Rusty and I picked up a couple in San Francisco's Chinatown a few years ago.

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That's a table heaped with treasure! Napkins, magazines, labels, stamps, sewing patterns, an Italian newspaper, an old will, old prescription labels, invoices, ledgers, handwritten letters... so much wonderful stuff!

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Here's how mine ended up. It's 6" square. "Always use new and fresh yarn."

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The work space at Standard Projects is to die for. Lots of space, beautiful light -- and so much more -- housed in the former Hortonville Police Station which was built in 1952.

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This is Kate's piece; larger than mine, it's 8" square. So much to love. There's a part at top left, beneath the upside-down stag, that's a rubbing from the fire door between the work space and the garage at Standard Projects. Also BINGO!

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Kristi also used some rubbings from the door... and got caught up in a story.

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I really love the layering/weaving in Claire's piece.

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These two pieces are Mel's. She made the top one with us in class, and the bottom one was one of the very many things she made during her week-long residency at Standard Projects.

After the workshop, Katie and I found a place for lunch and then stopped at one of the larger thrift stores in the area. I haven't been in the acquiring mood lately, but a thrift store is the perfect place to look for collage materials! I bought an old pattern for $.12, and a biology book for $1. And also:

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A "Sunny Book" for Rusty... even though I was a little bit exasperated with him all weekend! This was too cute to pass up.


Bright spot

You know how sometimes you know something "bad" is coming and you brace yourself for the worst but it ends up not being not all that bad?

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A week ago last Tuesday, on Aug. 16th, the street in front of Ali's coffee shop was closed. Sewer & water line replacement means that the street will be closed/no thru-traffic for a total of 6-8 weeks.

So far, the weather has been pretty good and they seem to be moving right along. The sidewalks remain open, and the workers have been very good about keeping a public crosswalk in the middle of the block open as much as possible.

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It's dusty and dirty, but sometimes fascinating to watch. They've even dug up some treasures, including ties & rails from an old trolley system!

The most amazing thing, though (and, believe me, I'm knocking on wood), is that the impact on Ali's business hasn't been too bad. In fact, that first day, she had to deal with some not-so-good customer feedback because they were SO INCREDIBLY BUSY at lunchtime that a couple of orders got messed up. Even Rusty, whose studio is upstairs (so he's there a lot), commented on how busy they were and that people were lined up out the door!

There have been some not-stellar days, and there'll probably be more, but mostly it's been OK. She's been working for a while now on a plan for a big remodel and improvements to her kitchen -- the pieces are finally coming together -- and if nothing else, I think this shows that her business is worth the investment!

It's just so damn cool. It makes me so proud of my little city and its residents, so grateful for all of Ali's wonderful and loyal customers, and pleased as punch that she's built a business that's seemingly worth a little extra effort.

Seriously, there's a panzanella salad on the menu right now... SO WORTH IT. I could eat it everyday! It's especially delicious when Adam's making it and on his way out to the deck garden, he asks if purple or green basil is preferred. Mmmm.


Right now: August is waning

Anticipating... one more overseas departure. Maddy will be heading to New Zealand next month for a 9-month live/work adventure... emphasis on living, playing, and doing! I am so excited for her.

Itching... (still) to clean up my workroom and make progress on something... anything!

Knitting... I finished re-knitting the sleeves of Gin's Elwood sweater and they are so much better! Attention will now turn to LOLA.

Kvetching... about car/engine repairs. Bleh.

Looking forward to... Deconstructed Collage Workshop on Saturday morning. Artist Mel Kolstad will be just finishing a week-long residency at Standard Projects -- it's been fun to follow along. She is refreshed, renewed, inspired, and it ought to be a fun workshop.

Planning... a bit of travel myself. Not yet to Spain, nor to New Zealand (sadly, I doubt I'll make it to NZ at all due to time and expense... mostly time). It'll be a bit closer to home -- familiar, comfortable, restorative. More later.

Reading... I'm still reading (closing in on) All The Light We Cannot See.

I haven't had a chance yet to choose a new Audible book. I must make time for that this afternoon.

2016 BOTNS BBHere is my BINGO progress so far -- not much has changed since last time! I highly doubt I'll get a BINGO by Labor Day... so I'm shooting for Thanksgiving. (My card, my rules.)

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Sewing (mending)... I finally did a little Sashiko stitching! I'd recently re-over-dyed a couple pairs of Rusty's faded shorts to a much darker indigo and discovered a couple of small holes -- it seemed like a nice sized repair to begin with. It was cool to unfold the hank of thread, cut it, braid it, and draw out my working thread. My patching & stitching could have been better; because it's so small, I might call a re-do!

Watching... We recorded and watched some of the Olympics. It was fun for me to see a few familiar glimpses of Rio -- Copacabana, Ipanema, Dois Irmaos, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Selaron Steps -- including a little ad-segment about Cafeina! I deleted plenty of unwatched episodes on Monday, though... I'm just never gonna watch those now that it's over.

We've currently queued up STRANGER THINGS and it's as amazing as all those friends' posts on FB have recently led me to believe!

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


Weekends, Farewells, KnitKonMari, and Other Stuff

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Weekend-before-last, we were invited to spend some time at a good friend's lake cottage. Annie & I took the boys on Sunday afternoon, and we had just the most wonderful time playing in the sand and water, going for boat and pontoon rides, eating, relaxing...

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My nephews made a couple of new friends and, with a week or less 'til departure, it was a great distraction!

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Saturday was departure day for my sis.

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I drove up to take her to the airport, but not before lots of hugs and kisses... and some photos.

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I can't believe how tall those boys are getting!

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The boys and their dad had a U-haul to finish packing, then left for Madison. They await their Tuesday departure -- and they have to be beyond excited now that Ann is in Valencia and at their apartment!

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I finished up a few projects on Sunday morning that I'd been neglecting these past few weeks, and that felt so good! I carried on and spent some time working on another long-term project, and then took a break for knitting.

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I am reworking the sleeves of Gin's little sweater. New sleeve pictured at left, old at right -- there is a VAST and VISIBLE difference in my gauge when switching from straights to DPNs, and it was driving me nuts.

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I had every size DPN in my arsenal except for US 9, so ordered a set in Majestic Wood from Knitpicks... and love how they coordinate with the sweater! I also love the pointier tips on those needles, compared to the bamboo I'd been using. 

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Though the daylight hours are shrinking, the weather has taken a decided turn for the better, and I'm anxious to get started washing my sweaters and shawls this week with the MDK Washalong.

Also, I can’t fit (stuff) any more shawls into the space where I keep them (a fabric shoe organizer in my closet). They’re not neat and orderly, oft-wrinkled, always falling out, and have begun accumulating in a couple of other areas of the house. I am sometimes having difficulty locating a desired shawl, and find that I am picking shawls up off the closet floor that I haven't worn in years. So, as I wash along, I'll also be doing a little KnitKonMari... applying to sweaters, also, as I haven't worn a pullover in I don't know how long (thanks menopause), and I just don't need the stress of keeping things I no longer use!

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It's time to vote, the polls are OPEN: Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick is LIVE!


Washalong

Are you? Washing along with Mason-Dixon Knitting? Sweater season approaches! I haven't begun yet, but I certainly will. I've a cedar chest to fill!

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Last week, after Auntie Camp, we took the boys home... and hauled a trailer along so we could bring a few things back with us. One of those things was a cedar chest.

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Immediately after telling me that they're moving to Spain (which, admittedly, I met with stupefied silence), Annie blurted that I could have Grandma's cedar chest... FOR KEEPS!

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There's no contest, really... given a choice I'd much rather have my sister around than a cedar chest!

(But I did want a cedar chest and, in fact, have actively looked for one. They are elusive!)

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I "had it" when they were in Brazil... plump full of their stuff! Now it's empty, and it's mine... for keeps.

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I think it would be a good idea to wash (and mend) all of my sweaters (and shawls) before moving them to the cedar chest, don't you?

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My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, were married in Rozellville, WI, in July 1929. It's possible that the cedar chest was my grandmother's hope chest (I'll have to see if my aunts know). If it wasn't, then I think it was given as a wedding gift. There are some similar design elements on their dining room set, and that I know was a wedding gift. I am intimately familiar with all of those dust-catching design elements, as many hours of my childhood were (unwillingly) devoted to dusting those pieces!


Abbreviated

My sister leaves for Spain a week from tomorrow, and the boys a few days later. "Crazy" doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on: cleaning out, donating, selling, storing, deciding. Does it get packed? Does it stay? Does it go?

Add in the simultaneous family farewells and at least one trip to the consulate in Chicago! Cray-cray!

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Meanwhile, Addy had a birthday last Monday! He was worried that it would be forgotten. No flippin' way! They happened to be on their way home from Madison that day, so we made plans for dinner. I set up a taco bar, which the kids loved. And baked a cake. Addy requested chocolate, so chocolate it was... one of the chocolate-iest cakes I've ever made. Seriously, the frosting looked like tar! It was so awesome. (Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is the secret ingredient -- recipe on the container. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it about :10 longer than specified. It was perfect.)

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This is 9 years + 1 hour. I'm not sure what the broom was about... something to do with Jün, though, I'm sure.

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We'd had another Aunty Camp scheduled for later in August, and the boys were both very concerned that it wouldn't happen at all. I was able to arrange my schedule a little bit, though, so they stayed overnight on Monday and we had "camp" on Tuesday morning!

We did "tie-dye" with Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol.

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From the top: Mack's, Addy's, and a onesie that I made for Gin.

I wasn't intending for indigo dyeing to be part of this camp session, but the boys really wanted to do it. I had just enough time to mix up a quick 5-gallon vat while the t-shirts spun around in a hot dryer to set the ink.

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And then threw them into the washer on "quick cycle." They are wet, above, and the color a bit intense because of it.

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In a perfect world, I'd have let that ink set a bit longer -- or maybe set it with an iron -- because it did fade some in the washer. It's still pretty cool, though! And the boys were so happy.

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Detail of Addy's marker designs. He wasn't happy with how his name was working with the marker, but it turned out to be a wonderful element of the design!!

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They also tie-dyed a shirt for Jün!

I had previously done an experimental project on my own to get a feel for the Sharpie thing... and it turned out pretty hideous!

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Thankfully, indigo to the rescue!!

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There's already been some discussion about the next Aunty Camp! Who knows, maybe it'll be in Valencia! Based on discussion, it appears that indigo is an integral part of Aunty Camp, so I reassured the boys that we could do that anywhere! And they also request the return of knitting. LOVE!

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Fast and Fabulous!

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Nine and Eleven!
(I can hardly believe that.)


At our house

This is the scene, more or less, at our house lately.

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And down the street.

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Around the whole neighborhood, really, and even beyond. Some of the kids are having fun with it, anyway. It's all getting a bit tiresome, but that's nothing compared to what's foreshadowed by all this work. Ugh.

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They didn't dig up my Japanese fern... but it looks like *I* probably should have. Hanging in there so far.

Yeah. Me, too. Hanging in there so far...


Ten on Tuesday Update: Summer Bucket List

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My Summer Bucket List

Originally posted in June, let's see how's it going, shall we?

This summer, I want to:

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1 -- Play with Junah -- CHECK!
                Trains and water play are the favorites!

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2 -- Cuddle with Gin -- CHECK!
                Lots and lots. She's 3 months old today!! She's so happy and loves to smile, and to watch her big brother!

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3 -- Get a BINGO! -- not yet.
                I'm not sure whether it'll actually happen, but I've enjoyed some pretty great books while trying. I'm currently listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and loving it, and turning the pages of All The Light We Cannot See, which I am also enjoying. I'm at around the half-way mark of both books.

4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me) -- CHECK! (and working on it)!
                Tops instead of dresses, though I do have a dress in my sights for Gin.

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5 -- Take a day trip to Door County -- not yet.
                But we did take a day trip to the northwoods last week, and had lunch at Little Bohemia!

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6 -- Stitch on my Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic -- CHECK!
                I'm not setting the world on fire, but I've been stitching now and then.

7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl -- not yet.

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8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!) -- CHECK!
                I fell behind and didn't finish while it was still a mystery, but I didn't peek until the end, so it was still a mystery to me; and I finished in time to post in the Ravelry thread by the deadline for prizes. It felt good to meet a deadline!

9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering -- working on it.
                This was my project du jour at the last knit night, though, so a little progress has been made. I think it'll be my go-to project every knit night!

10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too. -- not yet.
                If it happens, it won't likely be with the nephews... they'll be off to Spain in 3-4 short weeks and there's lots to do!

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Meanwhile, I've also...

  • Attended two weddings as a guest and another as second photographer
  • Photographed an engagement session for a wedding coming up next month
  • Spent every Saturday morning since July 2nd at the farmer market or otherwise assisting
  • Had a nice 5-day get-away to the far north with kids & kiddos
  • Been more diligently working with Kate on menu planning and cooking
  • Come to grips with my sister's upcoming departure
  • Began weekly-ish mowing of Mom's lawn again while my stepdad is out of the country
  • Kept up with the laundry
  • Even occasionally swished the toilet bowl

FO: TTL Mystery Shawl 2016

If you think you haven't seen a finished knitting project around here in a while, you would be absolutely right. If you took a look around here, you'd think that this shawl was the ONLY finished object of 2016! In fact, it's the second*, though it is the only project so far that I both started & completed this year.

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This is my fourth Through The Loops Mystery Shawl!

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I had some issues... tinking back a few times to get back on track after dropping stitches.

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And I'm pretty sure there's an error or five to be found.

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But I loved knitting it and kept it a mystery, never peeking at spoiler photos after I fell behind -- until I got to the bind-off row, and then I took a look. I used a 5 US needle for the body of the shawl, but an 8 to bind off in order to get the stretch I wanted. I was tempted to knit a couple/few more rows of garter just before the bind off, too, but wasn't sure I had enough yarn. (Turns out, I had plenty... but I love it as is!)

*The first FO was Deep End IIwhich I began February 4th, 2015, while vacationing in Todos Santos, Mexico! I noted on Ravelry that I worked the sewn bind-off at the Madison Knit-In, which was Feb. 20-22 that year, but it took over a year to pick it up and weave in ends. I did that during the Rites of Spring Fiber Frolic, April 29-May 1. Gin was born May 2nd... and that explains both the lack of an FO post and the general lack of knitting altogether. I have been saying that the creative output so far this summer has been way down, but the cuddle quotient is WAY UP!