Great Aunt Loretta

I attended my first livestream funeral service today.

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My Great Aunt Loretta died on Tuesday at the age of 96, the last of my grandparents' siblings. She is seated at my grandmother’s left in the photo above, the flower girl at my grandparents' wedding in 1929. That's a detail of the photo below.

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Loretta had just turned five -- as had the little ringbearer who was my grandfather's nephew -- and the wedding must have been so exciting for her! (The two men standing are my grandpa's brothers, the seated gent is my grandma's brother, the seated girl is grandpa's youngest sister, and the woman standing behind Loretta was my great aunt by both birth and marriage -- my grandma's cousin, she married my grandpa's brother -- the one to his right -- a few years later. The other woman is unidentified, "maybe a cousin.")
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I have so many fond memories of visiting the farm that Aunt Loretta & Uncle Al owned -- they were our only farmer relatives, so it was always novel to us, even getting zapped by the electric fence and stepping in cow pies. Sometimes there was a bull in the barn, and always kittens! Loretta & Al (who died 10 years ago this month) had seven children: four older than me (a couple by not too much), one who died in infancy the year that I was born, and two younger than me! I was sad that none of them spoke at the service, but I did catch a glimpse of a couple.

Rest well, (Great) Aunt Loretta.

 


An eclectic mix

It's that time of year when the "wrap-ups" and "best ofs" begin! I received "Your 2020 Wrapped" from Spotify yesterday.

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I love these things.

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Leon Bridges knocked Gregory Alan Isakov off the top slot. I think GAI held that position for at least two years. I'm thrilled to see Harry Styles on the list.

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No big surprises here, I listened to all of these songs A LOT!

Here's the full list if you'd like to have a listen... it's an eclectic mix! I love that Waylon Jennings is in the Top 10!

Maybe you'll find something you like, or an artist that you'd like to explore more. I'm excited to explore the related playlists provided by Spotify: Missed Hits (top songs that I may have missed) and On Record (a mix of talk & music from some of my top artists).


A word

I've had an unsuccessful attempt or two at having a WORD... One Little Word or a Big One... it didn't matter, it just never quite clicked.

But I think I've found one... not just for today or this year, but FOREVER. It comes to mind often, and today a version of this appeared in front of my eyeballs:

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PRACTICE.

That's my Forever Word.

That is all.

 


I'm going to learn to bake a cake!

Ha. And not just any cake... Christmas Cake!

And not just any Christmas cake... Le Bûche de Noël!

And not with just anyone...

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My fabulous friend for such a long, long time Kate Gilbert -- former knitwear designer extraordinaire (Clapotis, anyone? 23,400+ projects and counting) and creative director of Twist Collective, currently applying all that amazing creativity to baking as le gâtelier -- is offering a pre-recorded video course with step-by-step instructions with everything from choosing the ingredients to making meringue mushrooms.

Meringue mushrooms!!

This is a limited pre-sale for only $50, and if you're interested in more info or signing up, here you go: Bûche de Noël pre-sale.

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We've begun to jot down some ideas about our Christmas menu, too.

For sure, THERE WILL BE CAKE!! 😜

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.30 | That's a Wrap!

I can't believe it's the last day of November. I'm pretty sure I've said that on the last day of just about every month for the past two decades, but especially for the past nine months!

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Button "doorknobs" affixed, no tufting, taken in the o'dark-thirty of the morning before leaving for work... just turning cobalt outside.

Yesterday, I made good progress on a similar project, also destined to be a pillow but possibly square. I'll have to decide that before I do anything else.

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This is the "Village" design from MDK Field Guide N0 16: Painterly

I've done intarsia only a handful of times... it's fiddly and tangly and this is far from perfect and I'm OK with that. There may be some improvement when the ends are woven in and it's blocked!

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I'm making do with what I have while I await a yarn order (or two), and made a color card with my subs. The yarns for #11 & 13 are on the lighter side weight-wise, but I'm OK with that, too. Making do.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.29

First attempt:

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Already undone and moving on to another idea. The "tufting" is too loose, but I don't want to make it tighter because it won't look/feel that great. Also, not centered... I usually like things on the asymmetrical side of things, but not this.

It seems like most things are taking three tries these days... maybe I'll get away with two for this!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.28 | Parcheesi Day

It's practically a tradition that I celebrate the anniversary of the day I bound off the last stitch on my Parcheesi Blanket!

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Here is my original FO post. It's a trip down memory lane to read some of the names in the comments... also a bit melancholy.

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It's been 10 YEARS!!

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Can you believe it? Parcheesi was my first epic project... it's still in regular use and will always be a favorite.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.27

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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We brought the tree up yesterday and I replaced the two dead light strings that I'd removed last year when we took it down. Kate's hanging the stockings on the staircase.

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Kiddos commenced with decorating when they arrived.

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Junah made some new ornaments! :)

We had a nice day yesterday, even with a broken ornament or two and a piece of pumpkin pie w/whipped cream face-down on the floor.

Whatchagonnado?

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.25 | Safe redux

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading!

KNITTING:

If you have a really great memory, you might recall that I started knitting a Safe At Home "audition" before starting Davy's blanket, and I've been working on that again.

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I started with the three houses and then did a log cabin-style frame around them to get to the desired dimensions.

I'm going to make it into a tufted pillow for Maddy & Viv for Christmas. I can tell you because neither of them/no one in my family reads my blog. I have a down pillow form and I'm going to use some of the linen that I used for Ducky's curtains to make the back, and then I'm going to find some little buttons, aka DOORKNOBS, for the tufting. I want to make similar pillows for Kate & Ali, and for Annie, too, I think. I have three more forms! I am dying to try some of Kaffe Fassett's houses in the new MDK Field Guide N0 16: Painterly!

READING:

Recipes and wish lists.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.24

Nothing's really coming together today, and I'm feeling pinched for time, too. This time of year, right? I'll be off the rest of the week, but it's loaded up with stuff to do.

So, I thought I'd share a few photos from our trip to the North Shore... all about the light, color, texture.

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This was the view from our "cottage." And this was sunrise. I slept OK up there, but I saw the sun rise on most days. I loved the texture of these trees.

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We hiked at Split Rock, Gooseberry Falls (where Kate camped), and Tettegouche... we really lucked out in the weather department. These photos scream knitting inspiration to me... colorwork and cables. You can really see where some of the amazing color combos come from in Shetland and Fair Isle knitting, can't you?

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Ever since I took a class with Fiona Ellis a few years ago... OK, how in the world was that 14 years ago?

Anyway, I remember Fiona Ellis talking about tree roots and how fascinating they are, and wouldn't it be fun to try knitting some? I've taken photos of interesting tree roots ever since. Trying to make sense of the scene above just about blew our minds. How the... ?? Anyway, that's some big-time inspo.

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And that's Rusty on the day we left for home... the "worst" day. Stitches on his nose from a fall on those very same rocks a few days earlier, he just couldn't stop himself. BTW, the stitches were removed about a week and a half ago and the scar is barely visible unless you're really looking for it.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.23 | Weekending

On Saturday afternoon, Kate & I finally hitched up Ducky to haul out to Ali's for the winter. One of the tires was very nearly flat -- like, too flat to drive anywhere. But guess what? I have a "new" air compressor -- purchased last year in MI when my old one died while Kym & I were airbrushing fabric -- and it has a fitting for tires. Kate fished out Ducky's extension cord while I ran for the machine and we were on the road in no time.

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It's looking very much like November.

We brought the three big kids -- Yes! Malina is now a BIG KID!! -- home with us and Kate set them all up to make some "candy" decorations.

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Of course they all did their own thing!

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Ginny spent a lot of time squirting paint onto her plate and stirred herself up quite a slurry.

“I’m making a rainbow, Auntie Kate. Auntie Kate, listen to me. You have to use all the colors, okay? You have to make the rainbow before you can put the rainbow on.”

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Plastic plates, cellophane, ribbon & some stakes. It's so darn cute. Rusty put the "light array" on the front door and I hung my wreath -- the same old pinecone wreath that I always have on the front door (the door's open, so you can't see that part in the photo above). The new one that I made is just a little too big for the front, so I hung it on the pergola. I had one out there several years ago and really liked it -- we see & enjoy it ourselves in that location more than on the front door, anyway. All I want in front yet is a light on the espalier tree.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.22 | Weights & Measures

Sarah asked if I had any idea how much yarn I used when knitting Davy's Safe At Home Blanket.

I didn't, really, so the next time it came along with Davy, I weighed it.

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Here are the stats:

1140 grams | approx. 2.5 pounds

approx. 11.4 100g hanks of fingering/sock weight yarn
(yarn held double throughout)

approx. 5,245 yards | 4,800 meters

I kept tabs on my trimmings, too.

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This cute fabric tote that I found at a shop in Cornwall last year (which seems like 10 years ago) was handy on the table next to me, so I just started filling it up with trimmings.

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They're pretty much all there except for the ends trimmed while we were camping.

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I accidentally changed units from grams to fluid ounces in the middle of weighing this morning -- so it's a little off (and I wasn't going for complete accuracy, anyway). It's just mild curiosity... that equals over 100 yards of yarn trimmings! Haha.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.21

Random blast from the past.

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Weaving, ca. ?th grade art class. Front.

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Back.

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Detail.

I have no idea what my inspiration was. I'm sure the color combo was "chosen" from what was presented. It's faded a lot! I took these photos over 2 years ago... after which I might have tossed it.

But maybe not.  :)

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.20 | TGIF

I spent most of the morning getting the Airbnb ready for what may be our last guests this year... there's nothing else on the books! I did have all of December blocked off for a while when I thought Annie & her family might be coming, needing a place for work/school/quarantine.

My back is telling me that maybe I should consider long-term rentals again. Heh.

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I finally put the down comforters on the beds! The natural light in that apartment is amazing... this room was our bedroom when we occupied the entire house.

Anyway, I'm pretty amazed at how well we did with the Airbnb thing this year, and hopefully it will continue.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.19 | 3TT

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a virtual wreath-making class with my friend Ann. The florist presenting the class is located literally across the parking lot from work -- danger! danger! -- I often see them outside photographing arrangements.

I picked up our "wreath kits" on Tuesday night and delivered Ann's on my way home, so we were all set for Wednesday night's gathering. There were three designs to choose from, each included a lovely fresh wreath with all the necessary trimmings & treats!

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Thank goodness I started setting up early because... devices! Sheesh. Luckily, Rusty had our old laptop sitting there and I was able to get everything working. I think this will now be the default at-home Zoom device (in the Garden Room, anyway)!

I'm in the top row, second-from-left (with the phone), and Ann's right below me.

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Incredibly, I was able to not only locate my glue gun, but extra glue sticks, too, on my first try! I can't remember the last time I used that thing. I had a little table to my left with all the goodies.

Of course this would have been more fun in person, but y'know, we do what we can! There were quite a few solo participants in their kitchens or dining room, but a couple of small masked groups -- duos or trios -- hanging in their garages. I really like that idea and will keep it in mind for future...

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It's that time of year again when it's dark when I leave for work and dark when I return, so I don't have a photo of my finished wreath... the photo above is from last night at about the half-way mark. I'm off tomorrow, though, and will be figuring out how to hang it on my front door.

Kate's doing the bulk of the outside holiday decor today (temp in the mid-50s) and I can't wait to see! She picked up a whole car-load of stuff a few weeks ago and I have no idea what she has in mind. Surprise!!

I am noticing more holiday decor every time I go someplace... trees up, lights up, inflatables up... how about you?

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.18 | Unraveled Wednesday

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share my latest FO!

KNITTING:

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That makes an unprecedented three weeks in a row with a finish under my belt!

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Well, despite the fact that it took nine months to finish these mitts, they were really fun to make. This is the first time I've incorporated beads into knitting (except for some knitted wire earrings that I made a long time ago). It was a little fiddly, but the beading was all done on one row. I love that little detail, and the slight heft that the beads add to the cuff.

These mitts were worked almost entirely while on vacation... or three! I started in February when Kate & I went to Asheville; continued (if you can call it that) in March, when Rusty & I went to Mexico -- surreal, as things were beginning to shut down then; and mostly finished early this month on a quiet birthday getaway to Lake Superior's North Shore.

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This was one of two kits that I bought about a year ago, so eventually there should be a pair of Princess Lola socks underway. They're little shortie socks that also have a bead detail. I love that the kits even come with special floss for beading.

READING:

Gah. I haven't been reading anything... I did listen to a couple of podcasts.

Things will be normal again someday, right? I feel like I'm starting to crack.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.17

Sharing my Freewill Astrology Horoscope today.

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SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

To convey the spirit of the coming weeks, I'm offering you wisdom from two women who were wise about the art of slow and steady progress.

First, here's author Iris Murdoch:

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better.

Your second piece of insight about the wonders of prudent, piecemeal triumph comes from activist and author Helen Keller:

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

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For whatever it's worth, every once in a while, it hits home.

Has anyone read any of Iris Murdoch's books? Recommend??

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.16 | Weekending

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[ CAPTION THIS ]

I had a fun few hours of Davy-sitting on Saturday morning. The highlight was coaxing some smiles (or reactionary smile-like expressions) from him. He's so freakin' adorable.

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And just what I needed.

I had to change his diaper twice, and one of those also required a change of clothes.

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Aren't those hedgie pants adorable???

All the kids came over on Sunday afternoon for some belated birthday celebrations, and they brought cake!

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Kate made a "healthier" Tater Tot Casserole for supper -- something that's never been in our repertoire, but will be now (with additional notes). The kids liked the tots more than the filling, which isn't surprising. We weren't very prepared in the candle department, so just made do with was on hand... Junah arranged them. They all sang Happy Birthday, and the cake (made by Ali) was delicious!! Three layers of very moist chocolate, cream cheese frosting, chocolate chips, and a chocolate truffle on top (which was mine, all mine!).

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.15

I talked to my sister Ann yesterday. As Wisconsin is soaring in COVID cases, in Peru they're getting ready to re-open.

Huh.

Long story, short... they won't be coming for Christmas.

We're hopeful for summer... and maybe Auntie Camp will actually involve CAMPING!! Haha.

Anyway, she'd asked me for some Thanksgiving photos... something she needed for school. I'm actually pretty awful at photographing holidays, and have never been the one to jump up and take a photo of the table with all assembled.

But I looked.

And, while I looked, I ran across a couple of other interesting photos...

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That's my siblings and me (in red) surrounding my Grandpa Blum on what looks likely to be his birthday (April), and possibly an early celebration because Easter. Not Thanksgiving, but oh, this photo! It looks like Annie is getting her napkin all tucked in, waiting for a slice of that cake!! I'm guessing 1968 or '69, Grandpa would be approaching 60 (b. 1910).

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This one kind of floored me. I don't remember seeing it before, though surely I must have because I chose to send it in and get it scanned. Anyway, TOBOGANNING! (It doesn't look like a lot of snow at the top of the hill, but the saucer shows evidence.) My siblings and I, again! I'm second-from-left, leaning on my Uncle Jim. Our dad is the other guy. This had to be mid-70s... '73 or '74, I'd guess.

Anyway, a blast from the past on this Sunday! I hope you're having a great weekend!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.14

Someone posted a while back on FB about this blanket* that's in the Sundance catalog and I have no business thinking about another blanket...

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...yet here we are. Maybe if I just post the picture, I'll get it out of my system.

But couldn't that possibly be a most divine way to use a nice selection of, um, let's say 30 spooky mini-skeins?

*It's $425, which is a lot, but I know we can all appreciate the "hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-crocheted" aspects, since we all do one or more of those things (or related handwork), and know that it's actually worth all that and more.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.13

I'd like to introduce you to Electa Quinney. She is recognized as Wisconsin's first public school teacher, opening a school near Grande Kawkawlin (where I live) almost 200 years ago. 

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This new statue -- and the newly revitalized park over which she presides -- was dedicated last month. I was unable to attend the celebration, but that's okay... most days, I drive or walk by this park at least once. I think of her often! The cul de sac seen behind her is at the end of the street that bears her name, and one of the schools that my kids attended is also named for her.

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She's a big deal around here -- a Native American, a woman, an educator -- and I think it's just lovely that she's been memorialized again in such a way.

The park had been in a pretty bad state for years, and was nothing short of an eyesore all of last winter and much of the spring. Work had just begun when we had some early stormy weather, then winter suddenly arrived, and it sat -- mud, orange plastic "safety" fencing, everything torn apart but nothing put back together.

The re-do was led by our high school's Civic Engagement students, who raised money for the renovation that includes a new amphitheater (which I hope we'll be able to utilize before long). Funding was also provided by a local family foundation. It was a complete overhaul! Initially, they'd  hoped to save some mature trees in the (small) park, but they were too damaged in the storm, so new "real" trees of a couple varieties join a bunch of LED trees. Unfortunately, there is nothing picturesque about this location... except at night (when those trees light up).

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She's facing a bank in the photo above, but many years ago it was the location of South Kaukauna Dairy, founded by Hubert Fassbender, inventor of Kaukauna Klub Cheese! The park is named for him and there's another little monument there that I will share another time.

I love the detail on her shawl, and I can relate to that hair...

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...though mine is still too stubborn to stay braided for long.

I'm thinking that Ms. Quinney might be willing to model the next shawl I make!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.12 | 3TT

It's a DAY, and I got nothin'...

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...except three cute photos of the newest knitwear model in the family!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... Ali sent these photos last week while they were hanging out on the porch at home, enjoying the warm weather. The sweater is Demne, which I finished over 8 years ago! The Striped Hat for Gin was knit 3 years ago!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.11

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share another FO!

KNITTING:

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This is the second hat I've knit at the request of my cousin Gail; the first was one of the several Pussyhats that I knit in 2017. She sent me a photo of this hat/pattern several months ago and asked if I could knit her a "messy bun" hat, and I was happy to do it for her! She lives in Duluth -- a place where a person needs a hat!

I wasn't intending for these to be my "official" photos, but had Kate & her bun try it out when she was at our cottage one day last week. I'd hoped to (safely) meet & deliver the hat to Gail in person on our way home from the North Shore, and get a photo then, but she called the day before to say that her husband had COVID and that she was awaiting results of her own test. She turned out to be negative, but still... IT'S IN THE MAIL, GAIL!!

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It's been quite a while since I knit cables -- and it was fun! The pattern wasn't all that fun, though. I mean, the end product is great, but the pattern is not written very well -- this, coming from a person who prefers to knit from a written pattern! A chart would have been very helpful.

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I knit to pattern until the final decreases -- I'm sorry that I didn't count, but stopped short when there was about a 2.5-inch stretchy hole left at the top (after about 6-7-8 decrease rounds), and knit a couple more rounds before loosely binding off.

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I tacked down the turned-up brim in four places evenly spaced around the hat.

READING:

I tucked an actual book into my basket when we were packing for our little vacation; Plantation Slave Weavers Remember: An Oral History by Mary Madison, which I'm pretty sure I ordered in late August after noticing that Beverly Army Williams' gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. So far, my rating will be the same or better!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.10

Re-entry...

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Well, you know what they say about that -- and I don't even go back to work until tomorrow! So here's a photo of me, Rusty, and Split Rock Lighthouse from last Thursday.

That sure was a nice trip.

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.9

We had a lovely hike yesterday at Tettegouche State Park. There are so many great state parks in this area, and we were happy to visit a few.

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Today is the first cloudy day of our visit, and rain is expected... it's also departure day! We'll get ahead of the weather at some point on the way home, it's supposed to be sunny & 73°F there today!

The next time we see this kind of weather in the Upper Midwest will likely be in May or June!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.8

Good morning!

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There was way too much excitement around here yesterday! Celebrating with Joe & Kamala, finishing the hat for my cousin, a lakeside wedding to "oversee." And then I ended up taking Rusty to urgent care for 9+ stitches at the end of his nose after he tripped & fell on some rocks at the shore! He's doing fine... nothing is broken and there were no other injuries outside of a few other scratches (and a very scratched phone). His poor nose is red & swollen, but it doesn't really hurt, and he slept very well last night. Whew.

Today is our last full day on the North Shore, and it's going to be GORGEOUS!!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.7

A sigh of relief today!

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Continuing a long tradition of handmade cards, Rusty painted this for my birthday. I shared it on IG this morning, and wrote, "I feel like I am pretty calm and laid-back about things, but sometimes I need a reminder! #optimism"

A few hours later, it was announced that Joe Biden & Kamala Harris would be our new President & Vice-President!!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.6(2)

I turn 62 today! That's pretty weird (along with the fact that the day I was born was also a Thursday), so I'm going to share a few photos from yesterday.

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1 -- Seconds before sunrise.

2 -- Split Rock Lighthouse.

3 -- About an hour before sunset.

Today we're heading up to Grand Marais for a quick meet up with one of Rusty's cousins, who moved there a few years ago. The weather has been incredible!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.5

Our house is 135 years old and, as you might imagine, there've been changes over the years.

This photo is from a booklet published by the Chamber of Commerce in the early 1910s, taken from the east.

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I would kill to have that wrap-around porch and all that gingerbread again! The upstairs sleeping porch is now enclosed (but still mostly screens & windows) and is the entry to the apartment. The kitchen, in the back, was only one story, but was replaced with a 2-story addition in the 1930s, which gave us most of the upstairs apartment.

I would love to see what it all looked like in/from the back at that time.

This photo is from 1977, taken more from the west, and was found on the Wisconsin Historical Society website, documenting local architecture.

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All white (or very nearly so)! With black shutters! Other than paint, elimination of the shutters, and landscaping, not much has changed from this angle.

The photo below was taken not long after we moved in... in 1987.

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That's a wee Kate at bottom right! We had renters then, but a few years later we opened the door at the top of the stairs and took over the whole house for quite a few years while the kids grew up.

A lot has changed on this side of the house, and some has even changed back! Beyond the fence, right above the trash cans, you can see a big ol' maple tree that was growing right next to the house... like right.next.to.the.house! Why in the world it was left to grow is beyond me... but that came out. There's also a bushy-tree on this side of the front porch that I remember now would get tent caterpillars REAL BAD. Ugh! They were so gross... so that wasn't long for this world, either. The main thing, though (and it took a few years), was the addition of the garage on this side.

We're getting used to another monumental change right now.

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We've known the days were numbered for those two ash trees since we moved in... and it's way past the "due date." The streets & sidewalks in our neighborhood will be completely re-done within the next few years and, even without the dreaded ash borer, they'd never survive that. Most of the other mature trees on our street are on the terrace and will be taken down by the City when the time comes, but ours are firmly rooted on our property, so we're responsible.

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The trunks came down just as I got home from work on Tuesday. I took this pic as we headed out on Wednesday morning.

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And now it looks a lot more like our "Little House" illustration. It'll take a while to get used to it, but we're already thinking up some landscaping ideas. And I won't miss worrying about branches coming down in a storm.

The kids are happy with a little extra firewood in the shed!

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Also, I'll have a much better view when the International Space Station flies over!

 


NaBloPoMo 2020.4 - Safe At Home

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share my latest FO! (Though possibly not linked up because... writing in advance & timing.)

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Before giving the blanket to Davy, I wanted to take a few more photos... similar to the ones I took at a local sculpture park when I finished Parcheesi! This park is just a few doors down from Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, but timing/daylight has not been on my side. After work on Mondays, I pick up & deliver an order to the coffee shop, and this week I made sure to grab my camera & the blanket on my way out the door.

I was so excited to take these photos, I didn't even notice that the blanket was upside-down at first!

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  • Ravelry Project Page: Safe At Home - Baby
  • Pattern: Safe at Home blanket by Margaret Holzmann
  • Yarn: Various Fingering/Sock yarns - held double throughout
  • Needles:  US 7
  • Start to Finish:  May 27 - October 25, 2020

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Modifications! First was in the choice of yarn, I guess, using fingering/sock held double instead of worsted. I did not want to buy more* yarn and that's what I have most of... so I made it work. A color card helped me sort it all out and keep track -- most colors had multiples to choose from and/or to blend, and I made lots of combos while I knit, making subtle differences & variations in some of the colors.

*BUT OF COURSE I BOUGHT MORE YARN!! I had a lovely mini-skein of pink -- actually, it was orchid from Backyard Fiberworks -- and it quickly became my go-to for pink, so I ran out. Because of timing, I had to find something to match locally as best I could, and actually ended up buying TWO in order to get it close. That orchid, though... it was one of four or five mini-skeins that I'd picked up at Indie Untangled 2018, I think... and I might need to treat myself to a full hank!

And while I love the rows-upon-rows-upon-rows of houses in the original design, I just could not see myself knitting them all. Each house is basically a square, and that led me to think of a patchwork quilt... Parcheesi was also on my mind, of course, and outside of a few actual squares, the main feature of that design is stripes... and I really love stripes (plus, they're quick to knit), so...

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...I started to play around. Margaret provided a "coloring page" to aid in planning, and that's where I started. I knew the whole thing would be bordered in houses, so that left the interior -- 7 x 7 squares. I made alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes, and then added some houses -- I settled on two extra houses per row, which I placed using a random number generator!

For the striped blocks, I used the same combo of colors that would have been used if they'd been houses, but each had one more stripe than colors specified, so I made some sort of "rule" where I used the "house color" from the block two before... something like that. Heh.

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And just as with Parcheesi, I knew I wanted a border. It would help to hide a few of the cut ends around the edges, for one thing, and I love how it makes a frame around the whole thing. I used a blue-ish black. First I knit along four houses at each corner with a mitered garter stitch border, then picked up and knit along the remaining five houses on each side, finishing with several short seams to bring it all together.

At one time, I'd toyed with doing some crazy border stuff -- a different color for each house -- but I really like how the single color works. As my sister Sharon would say, "The eye needs a place to rest."

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Speaking of Sharon, I thought of her a lot while I knit this blanket. Rarely have I remained so focused on a single project, start-to-finish, but Parcheesi was one. I wasn't even quite this focused when I knit Parcheesi -- it took two months longer, and I remember a long break while I mustered the strength to begin sewing up! Anyway, that was 10 years ago, and Sharon was dying. I didn't even realize, at the time, how important that project was in helping me get through all that. I had similar focus on a shawl when my mom died. And now, this blanket... so aptly named for THESE TIMES, and definitely helping me to get through...

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And that's a wrap!

_ _ _ _ _

We're on our way to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a few days. Rusty & I are staying at a lovely lakeside cottage, and Kate will be camping in Ducky about 20 miles north. There might be a little leftover snow on the ground when we arrive, but the weather is going to be gorgeous... for November in Minnesota! We'd actually sort of hoped for some weather -- big waves and all that -- but we'll survive. There's a heater for Ducky, so Kate should be fine... and a fold-out in our cottage if things take a sudden turn.

See you tomorrow!