Unraveled Wednesday: Hexies All The Time

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

CROCHETING:

The last time I shared an "official" Unraveled Wednesday blanket update, I was seven rows in, and now I'm three hexies away from finishing Row #11!

IMG_9472

I am still gobsmacked that it's working so well. I love it more and more! There are some very weird color combos in a few of those hexagons... there are also many that are perfection, and often I'm surprised. Details & more pics on my Ravelry project page if you're curious.

READING:

I will likely finish listening to Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose today. It's not my usual type of book, but it's interesting and enlightening, even for someone at little risk of losing her job to a computer. AI (Artificial Intelligence) touches our lives every single day in a myriad of ways and, while "controlling" may be too harsh, it (algorithms, data, analysis) definitely influences us in ways we might not even realize.

Perhaps then I will get back to & finish The Midnight Library, I know I'm not the only one who found it a bit of a slog through the middle.

Though I should probably start reading Shuggie Bain!  

And An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery is still on my nightstand. I used to read a little every night, but lately I've been prioritizing sleep (sort of, because I'm still a night owl and stay up too late) over reading.

 


My Back Yard

This photo was taken on Sunday, April 11th at about 10:00 am:

IMG_9380

And this one today, Tuesday, April 20th, at about 6:15 am:

IMG_9469

Sunshine! Rusty put the patio plants out early (top photo), and I warned him that it was TOO early (as I do every year), and with a few frosty mornings lately, they've been tucked back inside. I'm going to try to take a semi-regular series of these photos.

Monty Don and Gardeners' World have been a balm over the past year, and an inspiration... to Kate more than anyone, especially as her interest in gardening has been growing over the past few years.

IMG_9422

She was trimming the barberry  on Saturday when Flat Stanley arrived from Peru (via Florida)! Well traveled, he'd been to England and Spain, too, and will soon head home to California... but not before lending a hand around here!

I took a walk down the hill to look for may apples, and I found some!

IMG_9433

There's a nice patch down there, and they remind me of my mom. The snowdrops are nearly finished, and the dogtooth violets, aka trout lilies, have appeared -- the leaves, anyway. No flowers yet.

IMG_9457

There are other types of flowers blooming now, though, and the girls are happy to pick (and adorn) bouquets!

IMG_9460

And, finally, the first of many sidewalk masterpieces. The parallel lines are marking the shadow line of the roof as it creeped eastward (pretty quickly, actually)!

 


Weekending: Birthday Chaos!

We had a fun & raucous birthday chat on Saturday! Here are four screen shots and you can see everyone involved, including Viv and her new nephew Arthur! Maddy & Viv were visiting Viv's family in Wagga Wagga, and the rest of us were in various locations at our house!

IMG_9436
IMG_9436
IMG_9436
IMG_9436

Yep, that's a diaper change happening right before your eyes (he looks so happy about it)!

Hope you had a fun, weekend, too.

 


Birthday Bonanza Begins

And today, we have a two-fer!

Ahollyhocks

Alison is 34 today! She's standing in a patch of hollyhocks that used to grow on one side of Balza's DX service station, which was demolished not long after this photo was taken.

00060_p_w14alh98pyj0083

It's also my Aunt Arlene's 91st birthday! Arlene is the eldest in my mom's family. She's holding my sister Karen in this photo, probably late 1960/early 1961, at my grandparents' house in Marshfield, WI. If this photo had been taken today, you might, at first glance, think that my grandparents are looking at their phones... but, no. Grandma is looking at a Polaroid picture, and Grandpa is staring into his coffee cup. My cousin Cindy is at left and that's just the cutest smile ever! So much to love about this photo.

Happy Birthday to Ali & Arlene!

 


Heartstrings

Your heartstrings are not shoelaces -- they were never meant to be knotted.
Angela Panayotopulos, The Wake Up

_ _ _ _ _

I originally found a much longer quote, but this sentence pretty much cuts right to it*. As the reality of Kate's departure to Scotland becomes more... well, real (three weeks from today!)... I had a rather teary call from Maddy in Australia last night. Having heard some dreary prediction about travel as we were accustomed not returning until 2024, it was the last straw. She & Viv have both been working their tails off, so they're tired, there are other obligations, few friends, no time for hanging out or doing "anything fun," anyway... yadda yadda... and maybe it will and maybe it won't!

It's just so... ARGGGHHHHH!

And Maddy has a milestone birthday coming up! Thankfully, they'll be able to get away for a very short birthday celebration! And this weekend, in celebration of all the April birthdays (in case you've forgotten or are unaware, Ali on the 16th, Kate on the 22nd, and Maddy on the 25th), we're going to have a group video chat/toast. Looking forward to that!

In other news, Annie flew to Florida to get vaccinated and was able to get the one-and-done J&J jab yesterday. Then, of course, the J&J vaccinations were suspended today because of the extremely rare possibility of blood clots, but go ahead... tell a hypochondriac about how rare it is! Heh.

IMG_9381

Boss Baby is ready to tell you whatever you need to know!

_ _ _ _ _

*The Wake Up will be perfect for Book Bingo (sounds like it's a GO!) if I get "supernatural fiction" or something similar!

 


Springing continues

Tulips will soon be blooming, the rhubarb, irises and bleeding heart are starting to come up, and the bloodroot is literally EXPLODING out of the ground.

IMG_9338

One of my favorite phases of the bloodroot emergence is the "cloaked" period, where the leaf slowly unfurls to reveal the flower bud -- it looks like it's wearing a cloak. This year, within a very short time, it was cool, then a little wet, and then HOT, and those flowers are just not waiting for the leaf/cloak to open, they're just pushing right through the top! Crazy.

You might spot a few snowdrops in that photo. There must be a million of them in bloom in the ravine!!

Kate & I had our second Pfizer jabs on Wednesday morning, and ran a few errands on the way home. Then I helped her move some things into a storage unit, but not before closing the car door on my hand.

IMG_9356

OWIE!! That's also hard to capture in a photograph. The bruising is evident today into my index &  middle fingers. Thankfully, I had full use/movement right away, though certainly tweaked a nerve or tendon in there -- thankfully, that was only temporary and I haven't had any more "tweaked" feelings. I grabbed an ice pack right away and iced it in between moving two loads into storage.

And then I took a nap.

Because I had a reaction to the first dose of the vaccine -- somehow getting through the day-after at work -- this time, I took a precautionary day off and I really needed it! I slept most of the morning yesterday, with pretty low energy otherwise. (Good for crochet, and watching Monty Don!) It's so crazy how Kate & Rusty had no real reactions at all... nor did they suffer all that much when we actually had Covid (not that I'd want them to suffer!), and wonder if there's a correlation. I sort of doubt it, as there are no doubt countless random contributing factors.

I shall leave you with one of the best pick-me-ups I've had all week. I nabbed this screenshot from a Snapchat video that Ali sent the other day. Ginny & Malina were giving Davy a push in a swing at the park. He was loving it! And I sure wish you could hear it!

IMG_9348

Have a great weekend!

 


Spring is springing

I awoke to thunder this morning, with scattered thunderstorms predicted until at least noon.

IMG_9326

The high temp is in the mid-70s (F) early this week, but, y'know, it's Spring In Wisconsin, so we'll see highs in the 50s again next week. Heh.

That's my budding lilac bush!

 


Weekending

Kate will land in the UK a month from today! It's going to be a crazy-fast month and there's a lot going on, so I'm making a promise to be easy on myself...

I haven't been stitching much. Now that the weather is getting nicer and there's still so much more daylight left when I get home from work... it's just not happening.

IMG_9288

I still watch TV in the evenings, though, so I'm making some progress on my crocheted blanket. I even took a few moments yesterday before the hullaballoo began to finish a row and take a photo.

IMG_9298

I hope you had a nice weekend! Here are the highlights of mine:

IMG_9300

Jün's top teeth are slowly emerging (aren't they big??)... and there are two more loose on the bottom!

IMG_9306

Ali's always saying how much Ginny looks like me when I was little... it looks like she might have the same chin(s) when she's older, too! Haha.

IMG_9317

Even without a smile, Malina makes a pretty cute bunny! (She was just.not.having.it!)

IMG_9293

Look at the greening up behind Davy!! He's also working on some teeth! And wearing a cute, easy-to-knit sweater (Ravelry link) that I finished when Junah was a babe (it's quick, too, even though it took me a long time!)! So springy!

IMG_9289

Here's to a good week! Who else is having egg salad for lunch today!!

 


Busted out

Yesterday, we masked up...

IMG_9250

...and headed down to Chicago! There's a busy month ahead before Kate heads to Scotland, and we've begun crossing a few "do before departure" things off the list.

When I recently read that The Purple Pig was opening their dining room again (at 50% capacity), the deal was sealed. I've had Bisa Butler: Portraits at The Art Institute of Chicago on my list for a while, and we got Monet and Chicago as a bonus! At first, we talked about a quick overnight trip, but instead decided on an even quicker day-trip, and on a weekday in order to avoid crowds as much as possible.

We timed our arrival to coincide with the restaurant's open and had a great lunch. It was my first time to The Purple Pig since they moved (almost two years ago!) into a larger space. We'd been visiting the old location (practically next door) on nearly every visit to Chicago since we discovered it, so I was happy to return!

IMG_9213

From there, we walked down to the AIC, where we flashed our digital tickets, which I'd purchased in advance, including the special ticket required for Monet. Upon entry, we could join a "virtual waiting list" for the special/popular exhibits, including Bisa Butler, as the museum was limiting the number of people allowed in each at any given time. We received text updates and finally a notification that we were at the head of the line!

The Monet exhibit was great... I learned a lot about his history with Chicago and collectors there, and I took a few photos.

Bisa Butler: Portraits did it for me, though. It was absolutely stunning...

IMG_9217

The exhibit runs until early September, and I think I'm going to have to return.

IMG_9218

There is just so much to see in every piece!

IMG_9221

I was struck by the man's suit, above, and how nearly every element of it was a different fabric... 

IMG_9227

...the sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle differences in background fabric(s).

The colors!!!

IMG_9222
IMG_9222
IMG_9222

And they way she uses them is just breathtaking...

IMG_9223

I loved how each section of this striped background fabric was quilted in a different way. A couple of stripes that are intersected by the figures are quilted differently above and below.

The scale and subject of some of the prints is just crazy... in a good way!

IMG_9230
IMG_9230

I was fascinated with the way things were pieced...

IMG_9232

...and how shadows would be created with piecing, or by adding a sheer layer over a print. The "movement" and dimension -- especially in the large-scale prints -- in all of it -- sort of blew my mind.

And also SHOES!

IMG_9220
IMG_9220
IMG_9220

Even the bottom of this shoe... (not to mention every other little thing!)

IMG_9226

So many details.

 

There were only two entrances to Millenium Park open -- on the Michigan Avenue side -- and Cloudgate was barricaded, as well...

IMG_9249

...which was weird but also beautiful.

 


3TT: Malina

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... and those things are YEARS!

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, MALINA!!

And now I'm going to share a lot more than three pictures.

20180325_101646
20180325_101646
20180325_101646
20180325_101646
20180325_101646
20180325_101646

Because she's just too darn cute!

IMG_4102
IMG_4102
IMG_4102

And the sweetest.

83360445_10103976584985808_6186942824164884480_o
83360445_10103976584985808_6186942824164884480_o
83360445_10103976584985808_6186942824164884480_o

That smile just doesn't quit.

IMG_6133
IMG_7020

IMG_6133

She's funny, thoughtful, fierce, and wise... couldn't ask for more.

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, MALINA!!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: 7 Rows In

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today (or not) to share what I'm knitting crocheting and reading!

CROCHETING:

IMG_9177

I'm one motif shy of 7 rows complete! I started to join the last one in (top left) last night and, whoa... that's one loosey-goosey circle and way too many stitches in the end!

IMG_9178

Often, I fudge, but this one's getting a rip & re-do.

READING:

I am listening to The Midnight Library, and I am really enjoying Carey Mulligan's performance, but I'm tiring of the story... I have about 3 hours to go, but taking a short break for this:

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose. Kate just finished reading -- and recommending -- it, Rusty nabbed her hard copy, and I just downloaded the audio book. Looking forward to it. Kate can't stop talking about it!

An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery is still my bedtime reading. I'm slow.

What are you making and reading?


Let's build a fort!

So, Friday night's cooking class with Marcus Samuelsson was great, but what a pace! Even with a few strategic interruptions & questions, I'd never have gotten food on the table without Kate's help! She shopped and prepped -- everything mis en place -- and mixed drinks... I'd never have kept up myself! The food was delicious... a collards & radicchio salad with vinaigrette, and tamarind-glazed halibut served over Carolina Gold grits. Mmm.

Saturday was low-key. It was a lovely day for a walk... and also for a nap. Feeling like I deserved the nap that I couldn't take on Thursday, I didn't set a timer like I usually do, and slept for a little over two hours.

Early Sunday afternoon, we had a scheduled disruption with our Airbnb guests -- long-term guests that have been here since just after Christmas (originally for not so long, but they've extended a couple of times). I'd ordered a new couch & scheduled delivery before I knew they were extending their stay, and Kate also needed to get some things from storage up there prior to & readying for her UK move. It didn't take long, and I sent them a couple of gift certificates for the trouble.

Just as we were finishing upstairs, Ali & the kids came over. I'd made cupcakes in the morning & we had a few presents for a low-key birthday celebration for Malina -- she'll be THREE on Thursday!

It was another nice day, even if not as sunny, and Rusty took the three big kids for a hike down along the creek (Ginny got wet).

When they returned, Junah wanted to go into "the woods" (our ravine).

IMG_9153

Pretty soon, everyone was down there, and Kate & Ali were helping the kids make a fort, gathering & using downed trees & limbs (of which there are plenty).

IMG_9157

I watched from the windows, at first, because this guy was napping. When he woke up, I bundled him up (it was breezy) and we watched from a comfy seat in the back yard. (He's working on Tooth #2!)

IMG_9166

Soon enough, I was down the ravine myself, and ushered inside the fort by the general contractor (instigator) himself to share a (log) seat!

IMG_9163

This was the view from inside (a little panorama).

IMG_9170

I'll see their fort everyday when I open the bedroom blinds or look out back from the Garden Room!

Meanwhile, evenings have been spent crocheting and watching TV. We've recently discovered BILLIONS (fabulous cast!), and we're loving it.

IMG_9130

I've made enough progress that my blanket can actually serve... to a degree, anyway (coverage is not complete). Haha.

I hope you had a great weekend!

 


On the edge of 17

I am delighted to have been administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday morning, but holy hell, Thursday was awful! Somehow, I stuck it out all day at work but felt like I never quite woke up. I took a snooze on the couch when I got home, went to bed early, and slept soundly, so I'm feeling much better today. I'll have to take the day after the second dose off of work, or at least have it optional. I had slight soreness at the injection site and had chills a few times, otherwise OK except totally out of it all day. Heh.

Also on Wednesday, I celebrated 16 years of the QUIT! That almost 117,000 cigarettes that I have not consumed, and loosely in the area of $30,000-37,000 saved, plus other health benefits.

That's so crazy!

I actually felt fine all day on Wednesday, and made corned beef (in the Instant Pot) for St. Paddy's Day, and Colcannon for the first time... definitely not the last, but it's only going to be a once-a-year thing with all that butter & cream. (It was SO good!)

If Wednesday couldn't have been any better, Kate also received her UK Visa! She has a 90-day window from mid-April to travel, and hopefully things will continue to improve in regard to Covid and travel/quarantine restrictions between now and then-ish.

IMG_3539

Photo from last year, when the Garden Room was still small. Haha.

Spring begins tomorrow, and it's 17 years ago tomorrow that I published my first KNITORIOUS blog post!

That is also crazy.

We're in for some good weather & sunshine this weekend -- 60F on Sunday! I hope it'll be nice in your neck of the woods, too. Have a great weekend!

 


Sooo sleeeepy

BREAKING NEWS: Jab #1 is scheduled for this Wednesday!!*

_ _ _ _ _

I was enjoying daylight in the early morning! Now it's dark again when I get up and the sun doesn't even rise until I'm already at work. We're gaining daylight hours at a pretty good clip right now, so hopefully it won't be long before I'm enjoying early morning light again.

IMG_9073

Kate & I spotted almost a dozen deer in a couple of groupings while taking a walk on Saturday at nearby Heckrodt Wetland Reserve. We were all there last weekend, too, and saw an owl! Much of the path there is boardwalk, but not all... last week it was wet & icy, this week it was even wetter, so we stuck to the wood.

C704F88B-6864-4827-A137-F36EAF7541C2

I noticed some emerging tulips in the back yard yesterday, and it made me positively giddy! This little clump is very close to the foundation of the house on the south side, so it gets nice and warm. Not much of note happening out there otherwise. We did get most of the outside Christmas decorations taken down, and I noticed that happening a lot around town.

I put my head down and did some prep for our taxes over the weekend. I wasn't very organized this year. Haha. That's really not a change, but different this year is that I was downright neglectful and let even the most basic tasks slide.

IMG_9059

Crochet continues, and there are almost two more rows ready to join! These colors made me smile, remembering that red & blue were the colors that I'd use in coloring books to color in every princess dress.

My Alabama Chanin project took a breather for a couple of days, but finally yesterday I basted the other back piece.

IMG_9080

Ready to go!

In news from around the globe:

IMG_9085
Australia: Maddy is very happy with this new item!

Peru: With our time changing and theirs not, our clocks now jive (at least until fall)!

*Rusty has been subbing quite a bit at our local high school and was able to get on the list there... he awaits Jab #2 next week!

 


Happy Friday!

It's Friday, it's sunny, Spring is springing... even though I see no visible signs of that (other than melting snow), I know it's happening! I'm not a fan of "springing forward," and having to change my clocks, but it sure has a nice ring, doesn't it?

I have my own little spring:

IMG_9048
IMG_9048

Amaryllis! I'm not seeing any flower buds yet, but it's still early. Green onions! I don't really care that much for green onions, but Rusty loves them, and I've heard blips about growing your own from scraps for ages, and finally decided to do it when Chef BB mentioned it during cooking class last weekend.

Speaking of cooking classes, I've signed up for yet another, having been sorely tempted by a class by Chef Marcus Samuelsson featuring recipes from his newest cookbook...


...The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, which Kate actually gave me back in November for my birthday, and she encouraged me to do it (she'll join me, too). It's a little intimidating to think of actually cooking along with a renowned superstar chef, and also, WOW, I can cook along with a renowned superstar chef!!

There's barely a post these days without a crochet update:

IMG_9055

The motifs for Row 6 are underway!

IMG_9051

I took a weird series of blurry photos this morning as I went outside to photo the blanket on the sidewalk -- my leg, my shoe, and two of the blanket. I liked this one!

I have other needlework to catch up on, plus taxes are beckoning... well, not exactly beckoning as in "seem to be appealing and inviting," but I sure would like to get that off my desk. I got a little start last week, and had a meeting with Ali's accountant last night, which went better than any before and I only had a couple of things to send her this morning (instead of a long list of homework)... so that's encouraging.

We shall see. Progress will be made in one area or another over the weekend!

Finally, in a recent effort to confuse/trick a neighbor boy, Ginny "dressed like Junah"!

155529727_894537171308947_4297903841718282108_n

Who can't use a little Gin on a Friday?

Happy Weekend!!

 


Tuesday

Annie & I took another online cooking class on Saturday. This time it was "Online Thai Tonight," by Sur La Table. I learned about their cooking classes from Kym, who went on an exploration after reading about our Pisco Sour adventure, and the class that we took from the New Orleans School of Cooking. I love the way this community works!

IMG_9020

One of our recipes was for Fresh Rolls with Poached Shrimp (or Spring Rolls, as we call them) and Coconut-Peanut Dipping Sauce (a lot of Peanut Sauce). These were actually Sunday lunch, made fresh for me by Kate. In class, we also made Stir-Fried Wide Rice Noodles with Beef. We enjoyed it so much, and the food was so good, that we've signed up for Chef BB's "Authentic Fried Chicken & Sides" later in the month. Both of us were drawn in when Chef said that it was her class for Women's History Month... and that this was her women's history! 

Yesterday, for International Women's Day, I accompanied my eldest to Milwaukee where she needed to get her biometrics done in order to complete & send in her visa app for moving to the UK -- specifically, Scotland -- so that she can continue to carve out & pursue the life & career that she desires. You may recall that this move was on the table a while back, then off, then a bunch of other things were proposed/considered, and it swung back around to Scotland again. It's where she really wants to be, and she* came up with a more economical way to do it (housing-wise, mostly) (one of the biggest barriers), at least initially. It looks like she'll be heading over in 6-8 weeks on a 3-year visa.

I thought a lot about my "international" women -- Ann in Peru (formerly of Spain & Brazil), Maddy in Australia, Kate soon to be in Scotland, Ali here in Wisconsin -- celebrating all that they've already achieved for themselves, and the new pursuits that they explore... and how they all continue to inspire.

_ _ _ _ _

In other not-so-new news, I continue to crochet.

IMG_9033

Oh boy. While waiting in the car for Kate yesterday, I worked on joining a hexagon to the blanket and ended up having to fudge -- too many stitches were left after working all the repeats. Y'know, crochet is not my "natural" craft... I'm feeling more comfortable with it, but it still feels quite awkward, and I certainly can't "read" it like I can knitting. Anyway, it dawned on me after I cut my yarn, that perhaps my count was off -- which would surprise me because I feel like I'm counting all.the.time -- but, sure enough, there were 13 repeats in that particular motif instead of 12.

Aaannnnndddd... turns out, that was not an isolated incident. Haha!

IMG_9032

Also, continuing with the random/unplanned design of this project, I am joining the fifth row from left-to-right instead of right-to-left as I've done all the others -- and as I intended to do and THOUGHT that I was doing (though I knew there was something "different").

Guess what? I'm not re-doing any of it. I love this darn thing, warts and all.

 


Flower Power

I have been absolutely obsessed with this dress:

IMG_8984

The print, specifically -- because "That Is Not My Dress" -- but everything about this! The whole vibe of this photo is bonkers. Gucci. Ken Scott. Elle Fanning. Yellow tights. Amazing shoes (those aren't my shoes these days, either). The "Fashion Gardener" even put pansies in that print... so tempting... but the least expensive item in that line is a "neck bow," and, um... no.

Florals are definitely a thing right now. Oscar de la Renta has some fabulous, colorful florals in the Fall 2021 Collection (link to TLO) (I would wear those pants!), and also CROCHET!

IMG_8988

I am here for all of it!! I have a gigantic scale floral print that I purchased on Spoonflower a couple of years ago and I think it's finally going to be something (with pockets).

Then, this morning, I accidentally took a screen shot of my phone and noticed the icon for the Prism app, which I love but haven't used in ages, so...

IMG_8992
IMG_8992
IMG_8992
IMG_8992

...sorry/not sorry for the photo dump!

Spring is in the air. The sky is light when I wake up (though there'll be a little setback next weekend), the temp is rising and the snow is melting.

IMG_8997

I'm looking ahead. Happy Weekend!

Also, Rusty got his first jab on Wednesday!

Edited to add: It's VIRTUAL ART IN BLOOM time at the Saint Louis Art Museum! There are free, on-demand programs available all month.

 


Weekending

It was a long weekend for me, with Monday off this week... that always means a lot to share!

We got outta Dodge on Saturday, and drove down to Sheboygan to visit the Art Preserve | John Michael Kohler Art Center -- technically, as Beta Testers! We reserved an early time slot and practiced physical distancing, and really, museum-goers are pretty good at that in general! The museum doesn't officially open until late June, and it's still a work in progress -- also no photography allowed right now -- but it's AMAZING!

IMG_8935
IMG_8935

The last museum I visited was the Black Mountain College Museum, over a year ago. sigh

It was a gorgeous day and we were hungry by the time we finished, so found ourselves a nearby Culvers and ATE AT OUTSIDE TABLES! It was sunny and warm, and only occasionally a little chilly when the breeze picked up, but otherwise... IT WAS SO NICE!! We got some looks from folks in the drive-thru, but enticed another couple from inside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I can't tell you how wonderful it was.

I discovered that my amaryllis are sprouting again.

IMG_8945

I bought them in St. Louis in 2018, so this is the third time!

I took photos of my Alabama Chanin project on Sunday:

IMG_8943
IMG_8943

This piece is SO CLOSE to done. I didn't work on it yesterday (you'll see why in a minute), but surely the other side will be underway in the next day or two!

Last night, I used up all of the circles I had finished to complete the third row of JAYGO hexagons.

IMG_8975

I can't even express how happy I am about the way this is coming together. Work at the circle factory will resume this evening. I'm also feeling the itch to knit -- it seems like I haven't knit a stitch in ages -- so might begin one of those Safe at Home pillows that I've been blabbing about.

Embroidery continues, too, another few stitches on the Bingo card. Kate's really into it, and I'll have to share a couple of the other pieces she's done/doing.

IMG_8947

She spent quite a bit of time over the weekend untangling, sorting, and winding floss acquired from various sources. So satisfying.

That brings us to yesterday -- with kids! We had about an hour with just the girls, and then the boys came over, too.

IMG_8968
IMG_8955

Ginny & I put together a new puzzle -- 100 pieces, Children of the World. And then there was a ton of fun with Ninja Turtles, and a little bit with K'nex.

Also, Junah helped me put together a new end table. He was all over the assembly of things when Ali returned after our recent IKEA trip, and I decided to save this little project for him. It just makes my heart sing to see him figure it all out and, again, I was a mere helping hand!

IMG_8957

Davy is drooling like mad... he'll be six months old in a couple of weeks!

IMG_8965

Malina changed clothes at least three times. I found that little slap-on dragon bracelet on my Target run and picked one of up for each of the girls -- they were a BIG hit! (Velcro wrist rattles for Davy... that just barely fit on his chubby wrists! and a LEGO mini-figure for Jün.)

IMG_8967

...and struck a pose upon departure! ❤️ 

 


You've been misled

There were two chairs in yesterday's post -- one in the USA and one in Australia -- it was the SAME PILLOW pictured on each chair! I was struck by how similar our chairs were and that Maddy & I took similar photos!*

I've made only one pillow, SO FAR, but that will change as I will be making a Safe at Home pillow for Kate, for Ali, for Annie and, yes, for myself, too! I already have the inserts. The pillows are pretty quick to knit, there's a lot of room for improv, and it's an excellent, bite-size way to make something with that great design... which I've nominated for the upcoming MDK Pattern Party.

FEBRUARY! It was not the usual slog, at least around here. I had a few projects to keep me busy -- fun and each only taking a few minutes each day -- and I think that helped! I'm amazed that Monday will be the 1st of March! 

The 100 Day Project

IMG_8914

I'm happy with my progress, and this will continue into May.

Embroidery Bingo

IMG_8913

I kept up with this daily... until someone won Bingo! Now I'm not so diligent about getting the stitches done in a timely manner, but have been keeping up for the most part. I think "Long & Short" and "Turkey Work" are the only ones that actually put me behind at the moment. It's been really fun to do since Kate joined in, too, and she's even continued with her own freestyle embroidery exploration, for which I've pulled out my embroidery books for her perusal.

The Fiberuary Challenge

The Fiberuary Challenge is a month of fibery fun & love, Instagram style, created a couple of years ago by Creative Ceci. There's a prompt for each day, but no pressure to participate. I've discovered some new people (near & far), and just really had a lot of fun with it!

_ _ _ _ _

* Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised? The Fiberuary prompt for Day 18 was "YARN." I wrote that I like knitting it, crocheting it, sniffing it, squishing it, buying it, sorting it, dyeing it. Maddy commented on the post:

Sniffing it and squishing it! 😂😂 I love you! I read this out to Viv and she goes to me, "It's easy to see why you are the way you are." Thanks Mom. ❤️


Safe in Oz

I finally shipped Maddy & Viv's Christmas (+) parcel via DHL last Friday! I was going to do it around Thanksgiving, but was waiting on a few things, and then the news about shippers being overwhelmed and packages piling up or lost, so I decided to postpone.

We expected it would take at least a month, but that parcel left here on Friday and was on a plane from Milwaukee on Saturday, headed first to Cincinnati and then to Los Angeles, and was in Sydney by Sunday, and on Monday was making its way to the girls in New South Wales!! I mean, you would die if you know what I paid for shipping, but at least there was some measure of "service."

Maddy sent me this photo this morning:

Safe-In-Oz

The "Safe at Home" pillow that I made for them is Safe in Oz!

I sent this in return:

IMG_8093

Twinsies! There were a couple of knit cowls from Kate, some Drink Wisconsibly can coozies, cards & notes... and a credit card (as was due to expire).

Meanwhile, I'd similarly sent new credit cards to Ann & Brian in Peru that day and apparently they need to pay some sort of tax before the shipment will be released. It sounds more like ransom to me!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Goin' with the flow

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today (or not) to share what I'm knitting crocheting and reading!

CROCHETING:

IMG_8904

Well, y'all know what I'm crocheting. I added a few more motifs to the second row last night.

IMG_8905

It's way too early to be thinking about this, but I think I'm going to want a border around the whole thing. I have done ZERO research, but if any of you have any suggestions for what kind of crochet stitch makes a good border, I'm all ears.

READING:

I finished listening to LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND, and I'm looking forward to discussion! My new audio book is THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, and I am really enjoying Carey Mulligan's narration. AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY is still my bedtime reading.

 


Hexies are not squares

The random layout generated at Granny Square Colors is in squares and I'm doing hexagons!

IMG_8896

I didn't consider what difference the shape would make until I started joining the second row last night... THE SECOND ROW!!  I'm so happy. It'll be a simple adjustment (knit fewer hexies or add another row... TBD!).

Meanwhile, it's sunny with a high of 41°F today, snow is melting, birds are chirping, and I can't help but feel a little hopeful.

 


Weekending

I did a fair bit of stitching on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket over the weekend. Prompted by the photo I posted a couple of weeks ago of the wrong side of the back piece I'm working on, I went on a hunt to find the last one I'd taken...

Wow.

I hardly worked on that project at all in 2020! Not only were we slammed with the overall weirdness of Covid, but Ali had just moved into a new house at the end of 2019, learned that she was pregnant, and had a business to keep afloat (an endeavour that wasn't mine, but I did numerous things to help). Kate & I bought Ducky and that renovation kept me busy. I had an epic baby blanket to knit! And other stuff.

Anyway, it looks like the last snap of the back I took was at Kym's in October 2019 when I drove to Michigan for our Mini AC Weekend!

20191013_174712

I like to photo the back because the stitches are so much more obvious. Here's the same thing as of yesterday afternoon:

IMG_8878

And here's the front:

IMG_3806
IMG_3806

The top image is from April 7th, and the bottom is yesterday.

I couldn't resist putting it together with a sleeve:

IMG_8881

The end is really nowhere in sight -- there is so much left to do -- but this is really motivating! This piece is more than 2/3 done -- I've finished stitching the two top sections, and have a good start on the bottom. I'm confident that the other pieces will go a little bit quicker and I'm excited to baste the layers together for the other back piece... SOON!!

I also started making my crocheted circles into hexagons and joining them together.

IMG_8862
IMG_8862

I'm working from the bottom, so that's the bottom row -- just over half the width (it'll be 15 hexies wide x 21 hexies tall) (I think). I made progress since taking that photo, and have only two more hexies to work before starting the next row. I've been working the circles in order and slipping them onto stitch holders, but I could only find two, so you can see the third row stacking up in the top photo. I need a little more order, organization & control than that, so was happy for the weekend and time to work out the JAYGO method again. I'm super clumsy and some of this pretty sketchy, but oh... it makes me so happy. The colors & combos are wild, technically they shouldn't all work together, and yet... 😍.


The week got away...

Wordless, except to say: TGIF!!

IMG_8789fb
IMG_8789fb
IMG_8789fb
IMG_8789fb

Whispering... 3rd photo is Kate's work (Bingo and a DOODLE!). Bottom photo is not my stack of to-read books! ❤ Have a great weekend!!

 


Lots of stitching

Embroidery Bingo is genius! It's so fun & quick to do... and it's contagious! Kate decided to join in, and I just happened to already have another "card" drawn up that she could use; she just had to draw in the stitches that she wanted to do.

IMG_8751

Here she's working on the "fishbone" stitch, and she's done a lot more since then (Saturday) -- a few more stitches, some extracurriculars on the side, and borders! The girls used to watch me cross stitch back in the day, always wanting to "sew," too, so she's no stranger to any of this.

Here's my card as of Saturday. I didn't have either of the stitches called yesterday or today, so it hasn't changed.

IMG_8753
I needed to choose 24 out of 30 available stitches for my card, and deliberately chose ones that were less known or unfamiliar to me. I'd never even heard of fishbone before and it is so cool! I hope to find a few stitches that I can incorporate into my Alabama Chanin project(s).

IMG_8754

In my stead, Rusty went to an estate sale on Friday; the combined estate of our friend Margaret, who died a few years ago, and her sister Florence who died a couple of months ago. Florence was 96 and spent all but her last few days in their home -- the home that they grew up in! Margaret was an artist, which is how we all became acquainted, but she also worked with needles of various types over the years, and we forged an additional bond in over knitting. Some time ago, she gave me some of her spectacular Vogue Knitting Magazines from the 50s & 60s.

IMG_8755

I'd hoped that perhaps there'd be some more of that type of thing at the sale, and some knitting needles, but there weren't, and the yarn wasn't anything I was interested in. There was a bag full of embroidery stuff, though, so I asked Rusty to bring that home. There were a few projects underway, and lots of floss. I was amused at the range of prices I found on the floss bands; today a skein of that floss sells for around 45¢. Anyway, I used some of their floss for my fishbone stitch, and I'm sure I'll use more.

I did a bit of beading over the weekend and some more applique on my Car Jacket.

IMG_8766

And I've been following my granny square layout to do crochet. I had done a lot of willy-nilly circles, but now I'm following a plan and will soon have enough to join together the first row!

 


Let's catch up

I had a lovely 3-day weekend, with Monday off. It was that perfect blend of getting things done without the days disappearing in a flash. I don't know how/why that seems to happen sometimes, but it was just so great to finish a task and still have plenty of "time on the clock."

Kate took my big hint on Friday and started to take down the tree. She stopped when she got to the part where "I know certain things go in certain boxes," so I finished up on Saturday morning.

IMG_8657
IMG_8657

I always love the "tetris" part of the putting away! This was by far the longest I've ever had my tree up. Whew! Glad it's down, and so grateful for Kate's help.

On Saturday, Ali dropped Ginny off for a "Date with Kate" on her way to grocery shop -- which mainly consisted of Kate & Gin driving up to Green Bay to pick up an order at Michael's and a drive-thru/parking lot snack at McDonald's (such are the times), and then dropping Ginny off at home on the way back.

IMG_8662

Junah happened to be with Ali, so I offered to have him stay with me while Al did her shopping.

IMG_8666

We played with K'nex -- well, he played while I was tasked to helping count out some of the pieces -- and he built a motorized fan. He was so chuffed: "Oh my god, it really is turning!" 

And then we got out the train set that had been set up once or twice around the Christmas tree and he played with that for a while... with room to spread out and not worry about Malina or Ginny bumping into the track while dancing or whatever.

And then we watched a little TV: Snoopy In Space! (He just loves Charlie Brown & the gang.) He had me sit right next to him on the couch, arms linked... "This is so cozy!"

Plotz. One-on-one time is so nice! Can't wait 'til next time with a different kid.

On Sunday, we finally put up the curtain rods in The Garden Room. I had all the stuff we needed since a few weeks before Christmas and then... early holiday hoopla followed by Covid followed by no energy. I finally felt up to facing the task!

IMG_8674

Because it's really nice to have sunshine streaming into that room, unless you're in there trying to do something while the sunshine is streaming in! Seriously, sunglasses are needed! There'll be easily arranged light-filtering curtains along the east side (to Rusty's left) and on the two large windows that he's facing. That should help a lot. Those other two windows are "original" and we've never had 

IMG_8675

That's some specialized curtain rod hardware for the corner -- adjustable and mostly used for bay windows, I guess.

IMG_8678

I was motivated & energized enough to do a little clean up and rearranging in there!

Meanwhile, I've been stitching away on my 100 Day Project, missing only one day so far when the kids were over and I was tuckered.

IMG_8682
IMG_8682

Since I took this photo on Sunday, I got a lot of beading done on the lower third. Feel like I'm getting my groove back.

2BB07853-F8AA-4458-BF16-B0B8D9A88EB9
I'm also playing Embroidery Bingo on IG with Jessica Long Embroidery! Cara posted about this in her IG Stories late last week with an invitation to join her. I needed another Thing in my life like a whole in the head, but y'know... it takes no time at all and I'll learn some things! I have no idea how to do Turkey Work or Oyster stitch, for starters. Bingo started on Monday and today is the first day that my stitch wasn't called.

Thought I'd show you the layout from the Granny Squares Color Pattern Generator, which of course I also learned about from Cara!

IMG_8687

I'm making hexies instead of squares, and they're all bordered in off-white, so I just had it generate a 2-color layout using 35 colors. Oh boy! It's crazy, scary, intimidating... and I LOVE IT!!!

 


My world in black & white

We had some snow yesterday. View to the east from the Garden Room. (This is photo is "as shot" in full color.)

IMG_8623

Not as much as some of y'all in the East, but it snowed all day and it was heavy, wet, and very sticky. Our wooded ravine was a wonderland -- this photo captures only a tiny fraction of that (even in wide-angle)!

Anyway, it's February... notoriously cold, gray, and seemingly the longest month of the year, even though it's technically the shortest. My world has been pretty colorful lately (on purpose), at least as far as my knitting/crochet projects go, but I had a reminder the other day that it's sometimes good to take a look at those things in black & white because, especially, shades of gray.

While I was prepping my Safe At Home post for IG yesterday, I accidentally swiped and... I don't really know how these things happen... and voila, black & white.

BW - IMG_7378

Every once in a while, Cara posts a reminder to take a look in black & white because you can more easily see the VALUE of those colors and how they work together. Admittedly, I did not do that with Safe At Home, so I was very happy to see that there was pretty good balance overall. There are a few places where the windows and/or door fade right into the house or the stripes are a big glob of light, medium, or dark, or you can't tell the roof from the sky, but it's all pretty well distributed throughout.

Anyway, it prompted me to look at some current projects in a similar way.

IMG_8591
IMG_8591

These are the circles from yesterday. (BTW, the little circles will all eventually have a few more rounds in another color, just like the ones above them, and then they'll all have another round or two in natural to make them into hexagons, and then I'll use a JAYGO technique to Join AYou Go!)

Anyway, isn't that interesting?? That gray & gold circle at top right was a little surprising, and I'd have thought there'd be more contrast in the blue & yellow one at bottom left. I love that some of the tiny circles are of mixed value... especially that green one at the right.

Here's the value of the box of yarn from yesterday's post:

IMG_8588

I got a new craft bin in which to store that project, wound up the rest of the yarn, culled some of the repeats (either super similar or same color/different dye lot), added the neons back in (because, let's just see...).

IMG_8637

The goal was light, medium, dark starting from the bottom. I rearranged, took a photo, looked in b&w/monochrome; rearranged, took a photo, looked; rinse & repeat... I took a crazy number of photos! And I see that I could still make adjustments (until the cows come home). The discerning eye will spot the "dark value sequins" atop a "light value yarn." Haha. This is a multi-craftual household.

IMG_8637

Here's that image in full color!

The next thing I'm going to do is another thing I just learned from Cara (who learned from another) is to enter all these colors/values into the Granny Squares Color Pattern Generator, along with some info about my pattern, and have a nicely balanced random plan generated for me!! That will take a little planning and screen time, but I think it will be well worth it! And there's a 3-day weekend on tap. Yahoo!

What are your weekend plans?

 


Unraveled Wed...THURSDAY: Pandemic Yarn Splurge(s)

Best laid plans, y'all! I had errands to run yesterday morming morning and kids coming over (yay!) in the early afternoon. I tried to get this written & posted in between but I barely got started before I ran out of time. And then I ran out of energy.

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

CROCHETING:

I laughed when I read Kym's post today yesterday, because boy oh boy, have I done that!! More than once, in fact, and because of it I am drowning in mini-skeins! Actually, let's just say that I'm swimming in them... because I'm okay with the situation!

IMG_8588

Unicorn tails! I had a few, and then I bought a "pandemic" bunch, and then I bought a "pandemic" few more. I've always loved the saturated color, some of which actually seem to glow, even if a single-ply yarn can sometimes cause problems. (We shall see.)

I'm making a little progress... sort of just winging it right now as I try to figure out a direction of sorts.

IMG_8591
IMG_8591

LOVING IT!!! I am living for color these days...

IMG_8585

...and, apparently, especially when it glows! This is our kitchen bouquet in yesterday morning's sunshine. (Today, it's gray and snowing.)

READING:

I finished listening to HAMNET on Tuesday night while I stitched on my Car Jacket. My next audio read will be LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND! AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY is still my bedtime reading.

IN OTHER NEWS:

I am participating in the Fiberuary Challenge on Instagram, created by Creative Ceci a few years ago, and it's been fun! We're only on Day 4 of 28, but so far so good.

Today's prompt was "Made in 2020," so of course:

2020 Safe at Home 2

Safe At Home for & with Davy!

 


100 Days... underway!

Yesterday was the official beginning of The 100 Day Project...

2021myprojectis
...and that will take us solidly into MAY!! Doesn't that sound wonderful? I'll be posting most of my updates on IG (I am @vicki.knitorious), but won't be able to resist sharing here now & then, too.

I spent yesterday morning getting my workspace somewhat cleared and set the scene.

Background in a nutshell: This is my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket, the project I chose in November 2017 when Kym & I attended a 3-Day Workshop at the Alabama Chanin Factory in Florence, Alabama. It wouldn't normally take 3-4 years to finish a project like this, but I sort of went off the deep end with the embellishing. I'm thankful I chose the jacket and not the coat!!

IMG_8522

When I left off last May, I was working on the first back piece. I wasn't surprised to find a needle stuck into the fabric on the side, but I was surprised to find that it was threaded and still attached! I don't remember specific circumstances, but I'm thinking that this was put away in haste, though it was all pretty neat and organized. Anyway, here's the big picture:

IMG_8518

The top third is done. The middle is about half-done. The bottom has a good start. The middle section got some attention yesterday.

IMG_8520
IMG_8520

Before & after. I stitched, cut, beaded & appliqued a "flower" (trying something new) and finished beading around the big circle where I'd left off (you can see the needle that I'd left behind in the top photo).

Close ups:

IMG_8526
IMG_8525

Looking forward to making progress!

My goal is to work on this project for at least :20 each day. It doesn't seem like much, but even on my busiest days, I can carve out 20 minutes, and usually it will be more. Yesterday, I listened to a 40-minute podcast while I did most of the work... and I have quite a few audio books in my queue!

I hope you had a good weekend, too!

 


Unraveled | 3TT

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm working on, and, because I'm a day late, I'm also joining Carole & friends for (a very loose interpretation of) Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- KNITTING CROCHETING:

Knitting is on hold. I have things percolating, but nothing is moving forward at the moment. Instead...

IMG_8497

I picked up one of my crochet projects last night. Remember crochet?? Way back in JULY, while I was also working on Davy's Safe At Home Blanket, I also decided to start crocheting not one, but TWO, blanket-type projects. I even designated Saturday as "Crochet Day," which I think happened on the very next Saturday and then never again. Heh.

I plucked two yarn balls from the basket and reacquainted myself with the process, making some of the same mistakes again! It's all about practice! This is Hexie Love Actually, and I think it's going to be random, but with some "rules"... which I've yet to figure out. And, since I'm the one making the rules, I probably won't use ALL the colors I have of this yarn as originally (loosely) planned... the neons do not bring joy for this project. (I think they might make an awesome something for the kiddos... maybe some trippin' gnomes!)

READING:

I still have a few hours of listening to HAMNET, and I'm on the edge of my seat. I am also reading AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY. I don't remember where I heard about that book, but it's an interesting historical non-fiction story that truly "unfolds" through the discovery of an unfinished quilt. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I like that there are lots of pictures!

2 - MORE MENDING:

When I patched the left elbow in this favorite sweater, I wove the patch directly into/onto the sweater... you can see that process here.

For the right elbow, I picked up and knit a stockinette patch, which I then sewed down on the other three sides.

IMG_8471
IMG_8471

In hindsight, it would have been nice to do some increases along one side of the patch to better "fit" the shape of the sleeve... but it's a patch on a holey old sweater that is in need of some other repairs, likely soon relegated to "house sweater," though I am going to get some public wear out of it yet!

IMG_8499

Though the hole was smaller, the new patch is quite a bit bigger than the first -- there was a lot of "thinning" happening!

IMG_8505

A close-up of the first patch. I'm happy with how it's held up. Both of these were worked in Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails.

3 -- CUTENESS OVERLOAD:

Kate had a dentist appointment a few days ago that involved novocaine and she sent a hilarious Snapchat to all of us, which, as often happens, started a flood of Snaps amongst us.

IMG_8494

I had to grab a screenshot along the way!

And this morning, Ali sent a few photos, including this:

Ginny-Davy

If that is not a doting big sister... and her little brother who is fully aware that he is Living The Life... I don't know what is.

P.S. Ginny is wearing a pair of Hannah Andersson PJs worn by both her mother and her Aunt Maddy, and still going strong! Quality FTW.

 


You know what else is random?

My Christmas tree is still up and there's been little movement (or mojo) to make it otherwise. This is by far a record. But we are loving the light!

I snapped a few photos before turning off the lights the other night... it's nothing but a tree of memories, really.

IMG_8475

I know I've shown it before, but that pink-striped ornament was my maternal grandma's. You can see wee Ginny & Junah in the shadows! There's the tail-end of a couple of hand-carved fish that my Uncle Jim made. One of two or three bunches of grapes that my mom had.

IMG_8476

Hanging nearby, my addition to our 2020 tree. I'm sure Grandma would not approve, but "Peanut" seems amused. My sister Karen punched designs into the metal ends of frozen juice containers to make ornaments, some of which doubled as gift tags (name & date on the other side)... you can maybe spot a blurry star.

IMG_8477

I kick myself every year for my mistake in buying only one of these amazing antique ornaments instead of all three! The blue orb is likely one from my parents' first Christmas tree. You can just see Santa's head peeking in at the bottom -- one of three cross-stitched, jointed ornaments that I made for the girls.

IMG_8483

I have a few pewter ornaments -- most of them were my mom's, and maybe this one was, too. I don't remember. We've been watching VIKINGS on TV, though, so there's current meaning, anyway.

There's been talk of removing some/most/all of the Christmas ornaments to make a "Valentine" tree. Again, no movement or mojo!