FO: Tsuwano

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By the time I finished with the actual knitting -- in the spring -- there was no need to wear a scarf or cowl!

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It took all summer and the eventual return of cooler weather to find the motivation to sew on six buttons!

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I did that at Knit Night about a month ago, and it's been my go-to neck-warmer!

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I wear it looped once... or twice; buttoned up... or not all the way.

The stitch pattern is wonderful -- lots of texture and interest but quite simple to execute. And I love the color!


Weekending

I lied.

I wore sandals to Milwaukee on Saturday, and I'm wearing them again today. The temp is supposed to be 55F!

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My cousin Rae is member of a group called Craft Cult and I received an invitation a few weeks ago to the Craft Cult Annual Art & Craft Sale on Nov. 8th at Art & Soul Gallery. I've been aware of this sale in previous years, but usually with not much notice. This year, realizing that it was also on my birthday weekend, I had plenty of time to make it an event!

It was a quick one -- just overnight on Saturday -- but so fun!

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SW corner of the building, 5th floor, lots of light!! Fantastic kitchen!

After my walk on Saturday morning, my sister Ann and I headed south! Our Airbnb loft was located in the Walker's Point area. We found it and then headed down the street to Zak's Cafe for lunch, contacting our hosts on the way and giving them a little notice.

On the way back  to the loft we stopped in at Indulgence Chocolatiers and picked up a few truffles for later. We stuck our noses in at Purple Door Ice Cream, too.

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My bedroom... and the view. Photos taken on Sunday morning, after we'd already "moved in"!

Karen wasn't expected until a little bit later, and a little shopping was on all of our lists, so we decided to meet up at the mall. Yeah... on a Saturday afternoon.

The good news is, we all found what we were looking for! I was happy to come across a new Hanna Andersson store and bought a few things for Junebug that I know he'll wear and wear and wear. I had a brief thought about saving them for Christmas, but why?? 'Tis the season (any minute now) for cozy long johns!

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We had a wonderful dinner out at Morel on Saturday night. I had quite a list of possibilities, but we settled on this one and I'm so glad we did. We didn't make reservations, but there was room at the bar and we didn't mind that... fun and casual. We shared a Charcuterie Board; we all had the Beet, Radish, Smoked Carrot, Chevre, Arugula, Pine Nut Salad (ordered at three separate times, but arriving all at once... that's great service & a great kitchen); Karen had Lamb Ragout, Annie had Ham Hock, and I had Rainbow Trout; and we shared a little Chocolate Mousse for dessert... because was also stopped off at the Purple Door on the way home!

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On Sunday morning, after breakfast at Zak's, we packed up and head out of town, stopping at Rae's event on the way. Her husband Michael was spinning records*, and other members of the cult -- wow, there was some great sewing, jewelry, paper goods! Rae's a fantastic knitter, and she made both the hat that Junah modeled yesterday and another little item that I picked up for him... that I am saving for Christmas (as hard as that is!). Yes, I'm a knitter; yes, I could make those things myself... but I know that I won't!

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I found some great earrings for myself.

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And we had fun visit with Rae!! I'll be heading back down to Milwaukee again to a) give the cult an introduction to Alabama Chanin, and b) to possibly host an Alabama Chanin party/start a sewing circle with my sisters, cousins, and friends.

*As I passed by at one point, I overheard Michael talking to a young girl (and by that, I mean at least mid-20s), saying, "...and the larger space between the grooves is a pause between songs."


Saturday (Earth &) Sky

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The old lift bridge... which may become operational again someday.

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Amazing sky when we left the theater after yesterday's matinee of SPECTRE!

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Sandal weather may be over for good now.

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Fungi found this morning.

I've taken a walk every day this week starting Monday, logging almost 9 miles. That's 9 miles better than any week in recent (or not-so-recent) memory!


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57?

I just don't even know what to think or say about that. All of a sudden, another year has gone by! It was a pretty great year, too.

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There was some knitting, some traveling, some knitting while traveling.

There was sewing... and stenciling and airbrushing and dyeing.

There were awesome times with my family, my kids.

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Junah. My god, that kid!

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Auntie Camp Weekend with Mack & Addy!

And you all! Thanks for joining me on these journeys. It's hard to imagine the trajectory of my life -- particularly my creative life -- without the friendships, support, and encouragement gained through blogging for the past 11.5 years.

So much great stuff. I'm looking forward to more -- much, much more -- same, new, different -- in the next year!


Shifting Gears

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As a supporter of The Alley Project (a nice wrap-up on Young Space), I was invited to last night's exhibit preview of Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Bicycling. There's a lot of cycling history here, and Wisconsin is the home of many custom bicycle makers.

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This all-wooden bicycle (even the chain!) never made it into production. Heh.

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I have been shifting gears, as well. It was nice enough for a bike ride today, but I opted for a walk instead. I am using an app called Map My Walk, and so far:

  • 1.37 miles on Nov. 2nd; in the dark/evening, with Rusty
  • 0.11 mile on Nov. 3rd; checking out the distance to the mailbox at work
  • 1.08 miles on Nov. 3rd; to the library (there was a book due)
  • 2.62 miles on Nov. 4th; the credit union and on to Walgreen's

I almost turned around today when I was finished with business at the credit union, but soldiered on. The weather, while not as sunny as I'd hoped, is amazing. I find that I am much more willing to walk when I have a destination or purpose!

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This was at lunch time yesterday; as of last night the first clue in the March Through Time mystery KAL is complete!


Strange coincidence

When we were at the cabin last year, I remember that we noticed and remarked on some coasters that were from the U.K. -- specifically, from Ireland. My uncle said that one of the owners travels a lot for her job.

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This year, we came across some from Scotland. It's possible that we saw them last year, but I can't believe I wouldn't have remembered.

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Because we were THERE! Badachro is just a skip from where we stayed at South Erradale, and Gairloch just a little bit further. (Also, I think that boat is still there.)

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Rusty & Katie at Badachro Inn...

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...where we had one of the best (and freshest) meals of the trip.

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Gairloch!

I sure hope to go back to Scotland again someday.


Weekending

The big news of last weekend isn't mine.

Paris-France

After months of planning (not mine) and secrecy, I delivered Kate to the airport in Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning she landed in Paris! SURPRISE!! She was invited, along with another couple, by her friend Blair's husband to a surprise 30th birthday celebration for Blair... in Paris (swoon). There's at least one other surprise for Blair before they return home to Edinburgh, where Katie will also spend about a week before she returns home (here). It's been a lot of fun to see it all unfold. It was so secretive, though, that Katie didn't even tell the credit union that she was going!! (I called this morning and hopefully she'll be able to use her debit card now.)

* * * *

I had a very quiet and relaxing weekend, myself.

* * * *

The previous weekend was a bit more "exciting" for us all. We all had or took the day off on Friday and left bright and early for a 3-day weekend "up north."

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Originally, my sisters and at least one cousin were going to join us, but they fell off one by one and so it ended up being just us at the old cabin, with my uncle at his a couple doors down.

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The weather was kind of crappy until about mid-morning on Saturday and then it was just lovely -- brisk and fall-like -- not as warm and delightful as last year, but certainly pretty enough!

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There were plenty of walks.

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We explored some of the remains of the old Hiawatha Resort.

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We goofed around.

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Goofed around some more.

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It was gorgeous... super low-key, fun, relaxing.

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I started a new knitting project on the way up and this was my progress as of Saturday night. I took some photos of an FO, too!

We played games and ate great food, including a fish fry on Saturday night... there's nothing like pan-fried walleye!

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A darn good time was had by all!!


Marching through time

By now, Daylight Savings Time has ended and most clocks in the U.S. have fallen back an hour. I hate DST, but I won't argue with an "extra" hour today.

I'm starting a new Mystery Knit-Along that will have clues released on six Mondays in a row, beginning tomorrow, Nov. 2nd.

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The thing that really got me interested, though, is that it's not only a knit-along, it's a WALK-ALONG, too! My fitness & activity levels have never been all that great, and they've been total crap the past several months, so I'm hoping this will be a little bit of a jump start to moving more.

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It's not going to be easy... November in Wisconsin never is! But a very timely NaBloPoMo will help keep me accountable. There's a Ravelry group, as well, and even though I'm still not a big fan of forums, I'll for sure check in there once in a while.

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I wound up some Make.Do Realize Sport that I dyed with indigo over the summer. Needles are ready.

There's still time to join in!!


Slow Fashion Week 5: Known

favorite sustainable resources / “local” / traceable fabric and yarn origins / traceable garment origins / reference books, films, videos

This is where my eyes glaze over.

My favorite sustainable resource is Alabama Chanin. It's the only one I actually know about first-hand, and I know it by accident -- because it's a big part of who they are, and because they told me -- not because I looked it up.

  • Sustainable
  • Local
  • Traceable
  • Origins

Of course I care, but I don't always have the time or inclination to do the research, find a comparable alternative that meets all the "requirements."

We could be talking about food.

Sometimes I have the time and budget to shop, compare, and prepare a wonderful meal with locally grown, pastured, grass-fed whatever, and sometimes a Big Mac will do.

Sometimes I have the time and budget to shop, compare, and sew or knit a beautiful garment with organic cotton or wool, and sometimes a trip to Target will do.

I have become much more aware of all of this in recent years and I know that I'm better. I haven't had a Big Mac in years. And I'm much more particular about what I buy at Target (in all departments).

Because of the many Slow Fashion October conversations, my awareness continues to grow and I will continue to learn. I'm interested. Karen has a great round-up post today with lots of links that I am making my way through.

* * * * *

But here's the bottom line for me and what I love about making things.

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Junah is wearing a Wonderful Wallaby that I originally knit for my nephew Mack in 2007 and that was also worn by Addison. It certainly has enough "life" for many more! Nothing beats quality materials (Mission Falls 1824 Cotton... I miss you!) and love!

See you Sunday for NaBloPoMo kick off! Are you ready??


Day Off: My To-Do List

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I loved Mary's suggestion for the "mundane" and have also seen "lists" as a suggestion for blog posts. Well, here we have my mundane day-off to-do list!! Let's call it a NaBloPoMo warm up.

  1. Chiropractor - 9:30 a.m.
  2. Boots
  3. Books
  4. Oil change - 11:30 a.m.
  5. Sales tax
  6. End of month (start)
  7. Quarterly reports
  8. Call the IRS
  9. Pack up and mail the Traveling Scarf
  10. Kelly - wedding photography info
  11. Take measurements
  12. Make kombucha
  13. And a bunch of other stuff

I hated taking my boots back to the cobbler shop! The new pull-tab on the left boot broke again the second time I pulled it on... I never even tried the right boot (and that's the one that I really need it for). They're going to sink the pulls deeper, stitch them more, and also stretch the instep of the boot a bit. Finger's crossed! I pick them up again in a week.

I loaded up several boxes of books and sent them to Half-Price Books with Kate today. They're mostly my mom's books and it's only the beginning...

The IRS. I wish I didn't ever have to call them, and I put it off this time for a couple of weeks already... It all has to do with Ali changing her business from a Sole Proprietorship to an LLC and a snafu of paperwork complicated by her also getting married and changing her name, and all within a month in May-June 2013 but not realized until the end of the year. Yes, 2013. I do believe (as I am fervently knocking on wood) that this is the last little piece and that nothing having to do with that changeover is left unresolved. That said, I have had nothing but pleasantness and helpfulness (special training?) from everyone I've spoken with at the IRS. I'm thinking that it's four or five or six different people, now, and *I* wasn't always as cool and collected. Ahem. Anyway, it's probably a much better experience when I call them than if it were the other way around.

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The Traveling Scarf arrived in my mailbox in July and I knit quite fervently for a while and then I stalled. Well, I knit a few more rows this morning while I bought postage online and arranged for package pick up, and it'll be in the hands of USPS tomorrow morning! There's one more stop before it heads home to Kim.

I came across the Options KAL the other day and that striped version reminded me that I really want to knit another Fib -- longer, with shaping, and V-neck. Also, I've yet to use CustomFit to make a sweater! So, measuring.

Kombucha making starts tonight!


Ten on Tuesday: Blog Blog Blog

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Tips/Ideas/Topics for Daily Blogging in November

aka National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo!

I can't not do it, having done it every year since 2009. I am not and have never been much of a planner when it comes to blogging... I almost always blog by the seat of my pants! That said, I usually keep some ideas in mind for NaBloPoMo! 

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1.  Daylight Savings Time! DST ends on November 1st this year... maybe there are some thoughts to share about that.

2.  Photos! A good photo is sometimes all that's needed (though I am certainly guilty of posting a not-so-good photo at crunch time). "Saturday Sky" and NaBloPoMo are a match made in heaven.

3.  My Birthday! Lucky for me, my birthday is in November and that's always good for a post or two.

4.  Weekending! A few photos along with some words on a Monday morning to share weekend doings -- there are five Mondays in November.

5.  Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving -- planning, prep, cooking, decorating, celebrating -- can be good for a few (or more) posts.

6.  Holidays! Fast on the heels of Thanksgiving, there's planning, prep & decorating to do!

7.  Knitting! Most of us are knitters, so there may be a recent FO to share, some holiday knitting, a WIP that's seeing some action.

8.  Ten on Tuesday! Also perfect for NaBloPoMo! 4 Tuesdays + 5 Mondays + 4 Saturdays = 13 fairly stress-free days of blogging.

9.  Throwback Thursday! Add 4 Thursdays and over half the month is taken care of!

10.  Don't Stress. I try not to agonize over NaBloPoMo. Not every post is going to be stellar (guaranteed). I don't have to write a daily dissertation (I don't even have to write). And I try to be flexible (which is easy to do when the planning is loose to begin with) and open to whatever comes along!

So, are you ready? Are you in??


Slow Fashion Week 4: Worn

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Marjorie, my mother, on her wedding day -- June 26, 1958

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Alison, my daughter, on her wedding day, June 15, 2013

* * * * *

heirlooms / second-hand / mending / caring for things / laundering for longevity / design for longevity

Somehow, against all odds, my mother's wedding dress survived 55 years (far longer than the marriage, which only lasted 12) to be worn again by my daughter when she got married a little over two years ago.

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My Aunt Carol was maid of honor and her dress was the same as Mom's with the exception of the sash, which was light blue instead of white.

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The veil did not survive to be worn again, nor did those lovely gauntlets (or my aunt's dress)!

The dress was never "preserved" or even particularly cared for over the years. My sisters and I used it for dress up, as did my daughters; and I had it displayed (collecting dust) on a wicker dress form in my bedroom for several years.

It was in dire need of cleaning, as well as some repairs! It was just about three years ago that I put out a call to friends for a recommendation on cleaning and altering, and we ended up at Art Imig's in Sheboygan. Mom came along on that trip, and maybe the second; after that she was too sick or tired or stressed out from radiation and/or chemo.

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The first step was to clean it, which was wonderfully accomplished by soaking it in OxiClean.

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Then we discussed alterations. My mother had previously done some night-before-the-wedding sleeve alterations of her own -- removing a bit of gathering on the sleeve cap so it wasn't puffy anymore but instead laid flat. That alteration also inhibited range of motion, so the entire sleeve area was a big stress point and very much in need of repair. There were some other small tears in the skirt that need to be repaired, as well, but nothing too serious.

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The tailor was able to "steal" small bits of fabric from here and there to repair and reinforce the sleeves, and she replaced all the stays and the crinoline. The satin sash and bow had to be re-used because there was absolutely no new "white" satin that matched!

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My mom had received some good news about her response to treatment just the day before the wedding, hence the "thumbs up!"

I think nearly all the topics have been covered with just this dress! The dress is hanging (covered) in my work room. We had talked about some repurposing options, but have decided to keep it... there are others in Ali's generation that may still wish to use it, and maybe even in the next. It would be nice if it was still an option for them, anyway.


Slow Fashion Week 3: Loved

At first glance, this week's theme for Slow Fashion October seemed like a no-brainer. Haha. Yeah.

proudest accomplishment / most loved item / most frequently worn item / thing you saved up for / investment pieces / thing you worked a long time on / oldest thing that’s still in rotation

 

Proudest accomplishment(s): Girl's Dress, St. Brigid, Williamsro, Fibonacci, Parcheesi, Polka-Dot, Hootie, Catamount

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Girl's Dress, pattern from Woman's World magazine; ca. 1983, using the most inexpensive yarn I could find at the variety store. (What's "gauge"?) It never fit anyone, but I learned more from it than almost anything else I ever knit! It was my "REVELATION" project!

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Alice Starmore's St. Brigid; knit Sept. 2004-Feb. 2005;
at West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, Scotland, 2011.

It was my "Rhinebeck Sweater" in 2005.

I don't actually wear it much anymore and have thoughts of turning it into something else.

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Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Williamsro, 2006 Knitting Olympics (US Cable Team)

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Fib. What's a woman to do with leftovers -- 7 different colors of the same yarn?

My "Rhinebeck Sweater," 2006.

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Hootie - Concert T turned Corset, Alabama Chanin style

Most loved item: It's like picking a most loved child... but I'm going to say Parcheesi.

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 Janine Bajus' Parcheesi; Apr-Nov 2010, knit with everything;
I use it both as a blanket and as a shawl/wrap

Most frequently worn item: Polka-dot (I love that shirt).

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 Two-Week Tee Transformation

Thing you are saving up for: An Alabama Chanin Workshop - learning is good.

Investment pieces: Almost all of the items marked "Eileen Fisher." A fair number of them have been acquired second-hand for a relative pittance, bringing the average price of the pieces I own quite reasonable.

Thing you worked a long time on: Catamount? St. Brigid? Parcheesi?

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Catamountan Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic Dress

Oldest thing that's still in rotation: I think it's probably the autumnal Vogue cover sweater that my sister Sharon knit in the early 1990s. It's huge and dense and I wear it more as a jacket in the fall. (A decent photo of that is on my list of things to do.)

* * * * *

Timehop tells me that two years ago today is when I first fell into the Alabama Chanin rabbit hole, having finally been lured in by an adorable onesie and blanket kit... as luck would have it, just a couple of months before I'd become a grandmother!

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Have a great weekend y'all!


Ten on Tuesday: An October Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did On the Weekend

1. Slept In. I had an early morning message from Ali on Saturday: No market! She is busy forwards and backwards and combined with a few other things happening in her world, it just wasn't going to happen. So I went back to bed! I didn't really sleep much more, but it sure felt cozy under the covers.

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2. Watched the sun rise.

3. Cleaned out the garage. Overtaken by art displays and indigo dyeing apparatus, my car hasn't seen the inside of the garage since spring! I hate to mention it, but snow is on the way! We still have to move the indigo vat before there's room for the car (maybe tomorrow).

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4. Did some thinning/cleaning out at Mom's. I decided to be productive with my "extra" time on Saturday. There's still plenty of extraneous stuff at Mom's that she loved and tended, but to which my stepdad doesn't really have an attachment. The Royals, for one thing. Have a thing for The Royals? Mom did! I thought I'd give it a couple of hours... five hours later... (so.much.stuff).

5. Marveled at some of the things I found. A few tugs at the heart.

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6. Watched Junah for a while. (Impossible to photograph that boy lately!) He's wearing his Great Uncle Mike's sweater, which I found in a drawer at Mom's. I had possession of it for a while when my girls were little, and I'm pretty sure that Annie had same when my nephews were younger. It's probably a size 5-6 (the sleeves are rolled twice in these photos). The tag is gone, so I have no idea of manufacturer, origin, or content. It's almost 50 years old, though, so most likely U.S.-made and not likely wool. Heh. The buttons were nabbed from one of my dad's old Air Force uniforms. #slowfashionoctober #handmedowns

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7. Watched the sun set.

8. Watched the sun rise again. Kate, Ali and I were on the road by 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, bound for Reedsville, WI...

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9. We went to Fermentation Fest! Ali & I took a class: Kombucha 101 presented by Vanessa + Alla, founders of NessAlla Kombucha in Madison. We both bought starter kits; everything is there: a 1-gallon jar, oolong tea, organic sugar, a (genius) laminated recipe/instruction card, a cotton square & rubber band to tightly cover, and a SCOBY! Kombucha will be happening!

Fermentation Fest, an initiative of The Wormfarm Institute, is FAB! It's been on my radar for a year or two. My sister Karen went last year and took a class or two; this year, I think she took four or five! In fact, she was so busy that we didn't even have a chance to meet up. (We'll see each other again soon!) This was my first year and that was my only class... definitely not the last.

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10. Farm/Art DTour. Katie took in part of the tour while Ali & I were in class, and we drove through the rest afterwards. Incredible. Obviously, one of my favorite installations was Monday is Wash Day by Brenda Baker. I wish I'd taken more/better photos of that. AMAZED!


Slow Fashion Week 2: Small

Listen: Slow Fashion Shows Consumers What It's Made Of  on NPR

handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

Handmade: Since knitting has been my main "making" activity over the past couple of decades, and because I'm rather selfish with my limited knitting time, I have a few sweaters and a pretty good number of shawls among my handmades. I've knit a reasonable amount of tiny things, too, for my nephews and my grandchildren. I've been given a few pairs of handknit socks, but can't think of any other articles of clothing in my wardrobe made by another's hand.

Living with Less: I am a KonMari believer! I have done some magical tidying, and there is still quite a bit to do. As important as the tidying/clean-out, I've found that I am acquiring less than ever. Recreational shopping is a thing of the past!

Quality over quantity: Preaching to the choir. I learned this at an early age. As a single mother of five and a full-time nursing student who received assistance and food stamps, my mother still bought quality clothing for herself and for us. We had fewer pieces of clothing than most of our peers, and my sisters and I had more than one fight (per week) over underwear and socks, but it was good quality clothing and it lasted -- often to be shared and/or handed down, but just as often to be loved and worn to tatters.

Capsule wardrobe: I have briefly thought about making an effort at this. Truthfully, though, my closet/clothing storage space is so tiny that it naturally keeps the size of my wardrobe small and manageable.

Indie fashion/Small-batch makers: I guess most of my forays into indie fashion have been supporting indie pattern makers. My budget just doesn't allow for clothing made by anyone's hands but my own!

Sustainability: This is where my eyes always begin to glaze over. Whether we're talking food, yarn, clothing, or whatever. I know it's important and one of the big reasons why #slowfashionoctober is even a thing. I try to buy responsibly, reasonably, with an awareness of origin... whaa, whaa, whaa. I try not to feel guilty/bad about not being MORE aware/caring/passionate/responsible. I'm in with those who do what they can.

Slowfashionoctober

Tuesday:

  • My favorite handmade (and also mended) shirt, sewn in and inspired by the Alabama Chanin  style, and made from a men's thrifted overstock/new 4X t-shirt.
  • A Talbots cardigan, which I've had for a few years, purchased at a thrift store.
  • The Eileen Fisher organic cotton cropped pants that became such a part of my uniform over the past few months that I bought a second pair; I am seeking styling tips to keep wearing them in cooler weather.
  • My beloved and years-old Wolky sandals that were just picked up from the shoe/leather repair shop, having had new leather insoles cut and applied for $25.

Slow Fashion Week 1: You (and Me)

I'm off to a tardy start in Karen Templer's "Slow Fashion October"... but it's a start!

First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?

The most important people in my life are family and almost all of them -- to some degree -- are/were also makers.

  • Textiles, fiber and reed
  • Rocks, gems and metal
  • Wood, clay, and glass
  • Paper, graphite and paint
  • Seeds, dirt and water

Resulting goods (and motivation) range from utilitarian to decorative, executed by novice makers to highly skilled artists... but there's always been making and doing.

My mother taught me to knit when I was six. I knit on and off in high school and as a young adult in the world (I found knitting needles, yarn, and a slightly challenging pattern to be a great antidote to loneliness), but it's been in the last 15 years or so that I became a truly avid knitter. Thankfully, about 10 years ago, knitting blogs were a Really Big Thing and I became part of that community where people actually thought about knitting and thoughtfully wrote about knitting, yarn, tools, technique (and life), and I learned so much.

Dresses

Dresses sewn by Mom (including her own).

Though my mother was an excellent sewist, she was also a very busy single mother & student, and I didn't learn to sew (more than a button) until I took Home Ec. in high school! My stepmother actually owned a fabric & craft store when she met my dad, and I made a couple of skirts under her tutelage -- but mostly I knit angora hats and made macrame plant hangers for her to sell at the store; she gave me the sturdy used Husqvarna sewing machine that I've used for the past 35-40 years.

I've written a little about sewing and fashion -- and slow fashion -- and quality last April. I am not a crusader, but I am aware and quietly help to make others aware.

Mostly, I just do. I make and do because that's what I've always done -- it's one of the ways I know I'm alive! The day I stop making and doing, I'll be dead.

I became interested in/aware of slow fashion when I began learning about Natalie Chanin and her company, Alabama Chanin in 2012. One of the things I admire about Alabama Chanin is the open source concept. Because as much as I'd like to own, wear, and love a $4,000 handmade dress, it is just never going to happen; but there are resources and tools available for me to make one myself.

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Or something.

Anyway, I'm participating in Slow Fashion October because I love seeing what others are doing. Just as I learned so much about knitting from the knit-blog community, I am inspired and in awe of what's happening in the larger "maker" community. And I will learn things.

Mending

I actually have a couple of goals for the month. One of them is to mend an already mended tunic. Shown above is a visible (embellished!) repair made a few months ago near the hem. Now, there are two small holes in the tummy region. I do not want to give up this garment just yet!! So I need to figure out a way... and am open to suggestions!


Weekending

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Opening weekend for Fox Valley Found + Collected at Standard Projects in nearby Hortonville. There's a lot happening there! (Kate's been doing a series about The Residents at Standard Projects at Young Space.)

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A rare find at any local farmer market: artichokes! Our season isn't usually long enough. These were tiny, and also delicious.

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Harvest Festival at Grignon Mansion. House tours, good food and beverages, pie eating contests, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating and carving, face painting, blacksmithing and spinning demonstrations, live music, and more! It was chilly (October!) -- we served up every last drop of hot cocoa -- but not so cold that it kept people away. In fact, it was quite well attended for a first-ever event.

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It's an amazing little house & property. Once upon a time, before soccer took over, this was the site of an annual Civil War Encampment. We attended it once before it ended, watching the cavalry thunder over that hill. Kate was probably 8 or 9, and was quite impressed (traumatized?) by the realistic acting of a wounded soldier about to have a leg amputated...

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Built in 1837, the house was brought back from the brink some years ago and beautifully restored.


Right now - September slipped away, so October it is!

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Humored by... that kid! He started pressing the button and...

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This is a small sampling of my current gallery!

Anticipating... the end of Farmers Market season. It's been a great season, and we've been *so* lucky with the weather! While there are technically three weeks remaining, due to other engagements we've only the Oct. 10th market left on our calendar. This Saturday, we'll instead be helping all afternoon with refreshments at the Harvest Festival at Grignon Mansion! The "mansion in the woods" is a real gem.

I'll be happy to have my Saturdays back!

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Enjoying... cooler, drier weather and changing leaves and gorgeous skies. We've had an incredibly temperate late summer/early fall. I'm still wearing sandals!

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Hoping... the trend continues.

Knitting... Dimorphous Mittens and Scoreboard. I've just ordered a couple of skeins of back-up yarn for my Prickly Poppy -- something I've been pondering for a while now -- prompted to action by the news that The Village Knitter is looking for a buyer (or will eventually close). That sweater's time out is just about over.

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Learning... a little about soccer! I spent a glorious day soaking up the sun and watching my nephews play. I missed seeing Mack score a goal because I was taking video of the clouds (as did his mother because nature called!), but I did catch his even better assist (according to his dad) later in the game!

Needing... to get on with some cleaning and organizing, but not doing that until it's too cold to go outside anymore!

Planning... a spring vacation -- maybe by train, maybe to Texas!

Reading... A Woman's Way West. It's not an incredibly well-written book, but it's entertaining and gives a pretty good a glimpse (with lots of photos!) into Doris Huffine's life (1901-1990) in the Montana wilderness. I love stories of women pioneers, and was given this book after the girls had gone on their June 2013 camping trip to Glacier National Park (where Doris began working in the '20s).

Sewing... a simple and "quick" boatneck top that's taking forever! I made a little progress yesterday... maybe I'll finish by the weekend.

Watching... reality shows about singing and dancing. There are some other things recorded/-ing but I haven't begun watching yet.

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Remembering... waking up from Tuesday's nap.

Wishing... I was on the road back to Black Mountain with Kate! She left today for a weekend conference and I can't wait to hear all about it.


Market days & other days

Last Saturday was the annual "Fall Fest" edition of our local Farmers Market!

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It was chilly in the morning, thus Ali's sweater sleeves pulled down almost gauntlet-style while heating milk for a cup of hot cocoa.

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The sun came on strong as the morning progressed, though, and the hot drinks gave way to iced lattes and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

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I had some of my creative work on display at market for the first time all year, including some of the fruit of this summer's indigo labor play.

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I also brought home my first bouquet from our market neighbors' booth. I love all the flowers and admire all the bouquets, but the fall combos are the ones that grab me most.

I'd taken a few extra days off of work late last week. Home alone, I had some fun puttering and doing things on my own schedule...

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I worked on my Scoreboard KAL cowl.

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I cut out the pieces for another sleeveless boatneck top, similar to this one but without the embellishment, and with a slightly different shape. I am sensing a pattern where immediately after finishing an intense sewing project, I need a QUICK slow-fashion fix! Or a simple project, anyway, even if I may not quickly finish.

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I made things blue! Over-dying a few previously dyed hanks, refreshing some of my stepdad's jeans (a couple pair yet retained for some mending), and playing around with some sock blanks! I'm looking forward to swatching/making something with those.

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But first, apparently, a new pair of Mim's Dimorphous Mittens por moi -- and a more portable project. I made a pair five years ago, ended up giving them away, and I miss them!! The yarn on the right is Hello Yarn Fiber Club Light As Feathers spun by my friend Ann; that will be the outer mitten. The inner mitten will be made from some Dream In Color Everlasting yarn (old version) that I picked up last winter at Susan's Fiber Shop. I've already half an outer mitt on the needles -- and knitting 2-row stripes from both ends of the yarn cake... we'll see how that works out. I'm pretty confident that I'll have enough of this to also make a pair of fingerless mitts.

Happy weekend, y'all.


Alabama Chanin Wrap Skirt

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I finally finished my "muslin" of the Alabama Chanin Wrap Skirt! I used three thrifted t-shirts for the main skirt pieces (one black and two mismatched-but-close green), stenciled the fabric using my airbrush and compressor set-up for the first time, and used a variety of techniques to finish.

A skirt is a tricky garment for me to wear, and I'd make mods* next time, but I was comfortable enough to wear it out to lunch yesterday!

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Alabama Chanin Wrap Skirt

  • (1) Black T-shirt
  • (2) Green T-shirts (mismatched but close in color)
  • Angie's Fall stencil, gray fabric paint (I mixed the color)
  • Button Craft Thread - double strand of Black throughout
  • Running stitch for construction & embellishment
  • Back Panel: Black outer layer, Green inner layer; large motifs stitched, no cutting, knots inside
  • Inner Front Panel: Green for both layers (same t-shirt); large & medium motifs inked & stitched inside, large motifs cut, knots outside
  • Outer Front Panel: Black outer layer, Green inner layer; large motifs stitched & cut, knots inside
  • All seams inside felled
  • Waistband and ties using Alabama Chanin 100% organic cotton jersey fabric - Blue Slate
  • Unfinished hem

*Because of my body shape, and this is whether or not I'm packing 30 extra pounds -- it's just structure/posture -- I would make an adjustment to the front (shorten) or to the back (lengthen), and probably play around with the darts a little. Some people make a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) when they sew... mine would be a Full Belly Adjustment. Haha.

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In other news, the image above was included with permission in a recent Alabama Chanin Journal post about The School of Making (#theschoolofmaking)! I am rubbing Instagram shoulders with some very fine company there. Check it out... it's an inspiring community.


Ten on Tuesday: EAT

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods I Am Looking Forward to Eating Now That Fall Is (almost) Here.

1. Chili. All Day! With Fritos and Football.

2. Soup. Nothing says "warm me up" like a bowl of soup!

3. A Roast. Any kind. With carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.

4. Lasagna. It's always been my go-to in any season, but particularly as it gets cooler outside. And made with some Roasted Tomato Sauce? Divine.

5. BBQ Ribs. KC&T just began selling my favorite BBQ sauce, Howling Wolf! (And will soon feature the Cranberry Orange sauce on a panini.)

6. Apples. Worth the wait.

7. Roasted Veggies. Any and all!

8. Cranberries. In bread (sparingly). In sauce. I love their tartness!

9. Zucchini Bread. Also sparingly, but it seems every year I somehow have one (large) zucchini that I just don't know what to do with except make bread!

10. Pumpkin Pie. This is the realm of my husband. He *loves* pie... pumpkin and apple, in particular, so this is definitely pie season around here. I can protest 'til the cows come home... there will be pie.

* * * * *

Wisconsin Weather (Fall)

3 Days ago I posted: "I am having warm thoughts about my furnace." It was mid-60s in my house. In spring that feels amazing, in fall... not so much.

Today I posted: "It was a little warm at work today. We had the door open and a fan going but, really, it was warm enough for A/C. We just couldn't do it! It felt as though we'd have been closing the door right in summer's face... (sad face)."

For the record, it's 7 p.m. and still 83F outside.

Tomorrow (day off) is supposed to be much like today. (Yay!)


Randomly on a Friday

Hi there.

I've been SEWING.

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Out on the pergola amid the overgrown tomatoes!

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Out on the pergola with a visit from the inspector.
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The end is drawing near! The waistband is completely attached now and I'm working on just a bit more embellishment on the inside front, then closures! I "tried it on" the other day and am pretty happy with it... my "muslin" heh! 

I've also added to the fabric stash for future projects. I'm so ticked with this 2XL t-shirt that I found on clearance at Macy's. It will become a romper for Junah to wear next summer!

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Toad!

I haven't been KNITTING, but I've been making plans... and I will be knitting on Sunday for sure!

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ScoreboardGo Pack Go!

I've been COOKING.

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That is the incredibly delicious Leek, Olive & Potato Pie from a favorite cookbook The Olive and The Caper! We have not yet been steered wrong by this wonderful and informative book, and it might be time to attempt some of the more adventurous/exotic dishes!

And I've enjoyed HANGING OUT with my family.

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My husband and my sister... we had a nice cookout and meal together at Joe's last weekend.

When it hasn't raining or hot & humid, it's been really nice outside, so I've been enjoying the great outdoors.

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Farmer market morning.

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Another lovely pergola afternoon.

There's been time with KIDDOS!

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Aw... not one but TWO stubbed toes!

And there's been some TIME FOR ME.

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Before.

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After. Trimmed, thinned & curled! Kate, my stylist, asked me if I thought my hair was getting curlier... and YES! I do! There's a very straight layer on top but underneath, especially in back, it's incredibly wavy... which makes me wonder what would happen with a short style! It could happen!!

And I've been an ARMCHAIR TRAVELER.

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Kate's on a westerly road trip... through areas that don't always have cell service... but when she does have service, I'm enjoying following along!

* * * * *

9/11. I'll never forget.


Busy week

The boss is on vacation and I'm working everyday this week... long days. They can leave me tapped out. I managed to stop at the store on the way home last night and then cook a pretty stellar dinner (if I may so so), though I used an amazing number of dishes/tools/utensils to make it. Luckily, Rusty is quite willing to clean up the kitchen... especially when dinner is so yummy! We don't mind eating sometimes on a more European clock, either, so that helps. I can settle in and decompress for a bit and then take my time cooking. We've been doing that more and more, and I really like it.

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I've been working on my skirt... the slow fashion is going even slower this week! But I've made progress even since I took these photos on Sunday. I've gone as far as I'm going to go on the outer front (black over green)... and I *love* it!

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I'm trying a new (to me) technique on the inner front, and inking in addition to stitching. A few motifs will be inked only, some not at all, and much of it will never be exposed so I'm not spending time on that part.

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At first I wasn't going to cut this piece, either, but I have... some, not all of the inked & stitched motifs... and I *love* it, too! (Pardon the terrible lighting.)

Let's see... what else has been happening?

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Oh, hey, it's Maddy in her new (used) JEEP Wrangler! I drove over on Saturday morning to help her with the purchase... and then teach her how to drive a stick shift in :20 before she had to get ready for work. Let's just say that it's about a million times better to learn a manual transmission in a JEEP than, say (ahem), a SAAB. She loves it... truly a match made in heaven.

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This guy spent a couple of hours at our house on Tuesday night. Is there a single photo here that's in focus??? He doesn't sit still for a second, and he's F-A-S-T! And so incredibly cute, though I might be somewhat biased.

One of his favorite things is going in and out the back door, the knobs and latches more easily reached and manipulated than some others. Ali, Rod & Junah left on Tuesday night to head home and a minute later, there's the undeniable sound of Junah at the door. He wasn't ready yet! He hadn't played with his caterpillar gear puzzle yet (apparently)!! He needed an extra :05 and then he was ready. So funny.

I am looking forward to the long weekend. How about you??


Sew, the weekend

All of my knitting was in the dog house over the weekend. I may have been suffering a post-project slump after a) "Catamount," my Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic, and b) those busy and productive few days off with the boys.

A slump is the perfect time for hexagons, and that's exactly what happened on Saturday morning at the farmer market.

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Later on Saturday, I actually made an attempt at laying out and assembling a strip quilt that I've had cut for ages. That ended up in the dog house, too! I think I'm forcing it and need to do some editing (I think there's more than one quilt happening there).

Needing some craftual satisfaction, I turned to my potato chip project du jour, a romper for Junah! I'd recently picked up a Green Bay Packers t-shirt at the thrift store (new, with tags) for just that purpose, following the same method as for Baby Captain America!

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Drawing lines.

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Three hours later, I'd finished everything but snaps, and added those on Sunday morning. I was able to get all but the front facing from one t-shirt (size XXL, I believe). There's still plenty of room for a diaper butt, but I left off the snaps at the crotch this time.

Sunday was the first day in a while that I didn't have to be somewhere or take care of someone, and it seemed like a good day to play around finally try airbrushing. It was windy outside, so made part of the garage floor my work space (the part that isn't taken over by the indigo operation, art gallery displays, and bicycles) (also known as where I normally park my car but haven't in months) (and all that stuff will relocate by the time the snow flies!).

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I chose two old mismatched green t-shirts and one new black one to provide the fabric for my "muslin" of the Wrap Skirt and to test the airbrush/compressor set up.

I mixed paint, fitted everything together with our little air compressor, laid out some old towel-rags on the garage floor, and had at it. I painted one piece at a time, the stencil being large enough to cover each piece without having to reposition. Some time ago, I'd purchased the large all-over mylar stencil in the Angie's Fall design -- it's one of my favorites, and I'm not sick of it yet!

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Inside front, Back, Outside front

All the while I was thinking that it would be really great to learn the finer points of stenciling (from start to finish) and, thanks to my $5 for Florence campaign, that might will happen someday.

The design is a little soft in the middle of the back piece (where the stencil was not adhered to the fabric very well), and it was while spraying the outside front piece that I was running out of paint, so it's splotchy in places and sparse in others.

I had barely enough paint, having first mixed my color concoction (a little black, a little white, a little silver) in a small 2-oz. jar. Turns out that the mouth of that jar is too small for the airbrush fitting, so had to dump it all into a 4-oz. jar and there was a fair bit of waste.

Clean up was interesting...

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That's the towel upon which I did the first scrubbing of paint off the stencil. I win for fanciest rag bag contents! I finished cleaning up in the bathtub and "sticking it" on the tile wall. Clean up sure takes a while.

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I've already begun stitching. I'm not sure how far I'll go with that... it would be nice to have a wearable piece, even just for running around, but it is just a "muslin" and my time might be better spent. We'll see. I'm content for now.

Thoughts & things: I made a slight cutting mistake on the inside front piece (it should have been mirrored with the outside front, and was not). I might try a button (something other than a tie) on the inside. One of the old green shirts is so soft and worn that it feels like velvet against my skin (it also has a few holes - the straight pins show where not to cut!).


My Indigo Boys

My nephews arrived last Tuesday after soccer practice, and I delivered them back to their dad on Thursday at soccer practice. In between, we dyed in indigo, I taught them how to knit, we went to the local children's museum & out to lunch with Ali & Junah, they had an art lesson with Uncle Rusty, they did a little coloring, played games on their iPads ('til batteries ran out and we didn't have a means to recharge), they had soccer practice on Wednesday, we watched a couple of movies, and we explored in & around the house (like, where's the door to get outside from the basement?).

Whew!

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So intent! We used string, rubber bands, and binder clips (oopsie, some of them leave rust marks!). They each made a shirt for themselves and for their mom & dad. There was an extra shirt in their size, so I did that one, and I had a bunch of onesies that I folded and tied, plus we threw in that other pair of Rusty's shorts to "refresh."

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I did buy longer gloves for this session! I figured that one hand out of four isn't too bad when we're talking 8- and 10-year-olds... that was one filled up glove!

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During...

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After! So much fun.

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At the museum... Junie is always moving!!

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Some work on perspective (including amazing floating chair) and space (asteroid, comet, sun, earth).

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They wanted to know about drawing faces, too, and Rusty gave them a great little lesson. Mack's a quick study!

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The boys were also interested in an old typewriter that Rusty had in his studio. They finally convinced him to put some paper in it, and this is what they came up with. That sums it all up quite nicely and we're all looking forward to doing it again!

P.S. Next time, they want to learn to sew!!


The Indigo Boys (preview)

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These were among the photos I posted on Wednesday morning when the boys and I made it out to the garage to start dipping our tied and bound garments into the indigo vat.

About an hour later, their big brother Sam posted a comment that included a link to a Guide to Child Labor Laws in Wisconsin! Haha.

I don't know why I chose those photos... that last one cracks me up even more after Sam's comment! In truth, they did do most of the "work," but only because they wanted to... and that allowed me to take photos!

The reality was more like this:

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GOOFBALLS w/ATTITUDE!!

(Yes, they did wear pristine, white aprons...)

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Boy, did we have fun!

It was our first-ever "Aunt Camp," and they want to come back... and stay longer! And my sister messaged me last night to say that they can't stop talking about it.

That makes me so happy. More to come... we were busy!!