3TT: Making/Doing & Dreaming

I thought I'd share three things that I'm working on! If you follow me on IG, you've likely seen all of this but there are a few more details/updates here.

Thing #1


I'm Banging Out my Main Squeeze. Since I took this photo, I've knit the other front and started the first sleeve. I'm just past the increases on that sleeve, so expect to finish that one and get a start on the second at Knit Night tonight! There's a glimmer of hope that I might actually finish by the end of the month.


Thing #2


I'm really pretty chuffed about this Alabama A-line Tunic. I'd intended to make a dress but didn't take into consideration the width of the fabric when I ordered it from Spoonflower. But hey, a tunic with in-seam pockets is JUST FINE!!

I've sewn it on my machine -- including the neck & sleeve edges, which I just turned under a quarter inch and stitched. I'm still getting used to my "new" machine, so there's a little wonkiness on one neck edge, but nothing that most people would even notice. I'm going to fell the seams by hand, because I like the way that looks, and still have to determine how I'll finish the hem (if I finish it at all). This is Spoonflower's Organic Cotton Knit fabric, which is technically a lighter weight than Alabama Chanin's Organic Cotton Jersey, but it feels a bit heftier/more substantial as a single layer, for some reason.

I plan to be wearing this in three weeks when we're on vacation in Mexico!


Thing #3


I stopped in at my local antique mall the other day to measure a dresser, but spotted this quilt top folded up on a chair in the front window and made a bee-line! The shop owner, who is also my neighbor and a high school classmate (though we weren't chummy then), said that her mom gave it to her 40 years ago, and that she thought the pattern was "reverse bow tie." From my TINY little bit of research, I'm gonna say no to that... the bow tie quilts that I've seen are a bit more angular (the circles are octagons). I don't know what this is called and I don't care... I LOVE IT!! And it reminds me a lot of the cheater panel quilt that I made for Malina, but much smaller scale. It'll need a little TLC here and there... someday. Meanwhile, I just keep looking at it and showing it (with a squee!) to all who enter my home!


(Last) Weekending

I am so happy that we decided not to skip a visit to Biltmore this time! IMHO, it seemed like a hefty admission price -- even without all the optional add-ons (of which we opted for zero) -- but now that I've visited, I can see why. The house is gorgeous and well-cared for -- loved, even. It's off-season, so there were some things happening, such as refinishing of the wood floor in one of the halls, and repairs to the walls. The walls were plastered and stenciled, so there was a craftsman touching up the paint and it was so cool to watch him for a few minutes! Spring is just barely beginning to spring, so there were obvious signs of work being done in the gardens.

Oh, the gardens!

But first...


Yes, I sprung for the tourist trap photo op!

I took a few photos inside, but honestly, it's difficult to capture -- and, sometimes, I'd just be stunned by what I was seeing that I'd just forget that I even had a camera, or know that I wouldn't be able to capture half (swimming pool, bowling alley, kitchens and store rooms).


This servant's room, with its sweet "counting sheep" garland at the foot of the bed, certainly caught my eye. It was quite a nice room, too, and the staff was paid very well (New York City wages) back in the day.

I shared an orchid-centric post on IG the other day, so I'll (mostly) spare you those photos here. The Conservatory was...


...well, it's February and we came from cold snowy Wisconsin...


...it was so warm and green and colorful! And huge.

I love that orchids can be so different. That little wisp of a thing was quite small, though not the smallest. It was just something to see, as was that BLACK variety. The orchids were mostly gathered in a specific area. There was another amazing flower at every turn!


There was also a separate room for cacti and succulents -- a cool variety of size, color, and texture.


In terms of plant life, there wasn't a whole lot happening in the gardens yet. I was enchanted by the walls with their espalier trees, and was very happy to find blooming hellebores.

The admission price also included trolley transportation to different locations/parking within the estate, and a wine tasting, which we really enjoyed. Overall, I think it would be a very different experience to visit in high summer -- there were definitely people around, but it wasn't crowded in the least and we didn't have to wait for anything.

So, that's pretty much a wrap on our Asheville highlights... except for a word or three about food.

  • We enjoyed lunch at Farm Burger on Saturday, knowing that it would be good because we ate there last time, too!
  • On Saturday night we went to Sierra Nevada Brewing in nearby Mills River (actually, right in between Asheville and our Airbnb)... and I cannot get over it! It wasn't even on our radar, but we saw the sign a few times and it had good reviews when we searched for nearby dinner options (plus, I'm a huge fan of SNB's Hazy Little Thing) (and now I have some swag)! It was enormous, and the drive/entry to the property was amazing (lighting shaped like hops). We had a little bit of a wait, so went upstairs to the "High Gravity" room and enjoyed a beer and some live music. Our dinner was fantastic!! Along with Biltmore, I would definitely visit SNB on another visit to the area!
  • And Ingles. I remembered Ingles from last time... and, I just have to say, what a fantastic "grocery" store. I want one.

I hope you had a great weekend!



Y'know, they are #whirlwindarttripswithkate (a four-day trip, two of which were all driving), but we pack in as much as we can... this will be my last post about our visit to Black Mountain College Museum, and then there will be a post or two about our visit to Biltmore.

We all, I suppose, hope to in some measure, at some point, achieve fineness in our work, but what is really exciting is the feeling that we are growing, that we are discovering things that we hadn't known before—and especially that there is so much ahead that has not been realized. And, for me, Art is the name of a direction, not a product.

–Joan Potter (Sihvonen) Loveless (1928-2009) from Three Weavers (University of New Mexico Press, 1992);
she studied weaving with Anni Albers at BMC 1944-1948

Oh, that last sentence!!



Experienced weavers were invited to sit down and work on this piece! My experience is limited to a child's BRIO loom -- I have no idea how those foot pedals work -- so I just admired.

Here are a few more pieces from Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College that stood out to me.


Lolita Georgia, Weaving Class Notebook, 1935

Lolita Georgia was the spouse of Black Mountain College faculty & founding member, Frederick R. Georgia. She was at BMC from 1933-1937. This is a page from her weaving class notebook, from a class taught by Anni Albers.


Anni Albers, Untitled, 1950, cotton and bast

Anni Albers (1899-1994) originally intended to study visual arts, but the way things worked at the Bauhaus in 1922, female students were restricted to the weaving workshop... which is terrible but also terrific & serendipitous, as Anni Albers became one of the most influential textile artists of the 20th Century! She and her husband, Josef, came to BMC in 1933, after fleeing Nazi Germany; Josef was head of the new school and also head of the painting program, while Anni taught weaving and textile design; they left the school in 1949.


Elizabeth Jennerjahn, Untitled, ca. 1960, textile with applied fabric wall hanging

Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn (1923-2007) first attended BMC in 1943-44 as a student, studying art with Josef & Anni Albers. She left to study dance in New York City with Martha Graham, returning in 1948 with her husband, Warren (Pete) Jennerjahn, to study with Merce Cunningham, also working as a student teacher in 1949; the Jennerjahns left BMC in 1951.


Susan Moore, Composition with Dot, date unknown, oil on canvas

Susan Moore (1926-2013) was a student at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1946, studying design and painting with Josef Albers and Jacob Lawrence.


Evelyn Williams Anselevicius, Untitled (from the Geodesic Series, ca. 1970s, tapestry

Evelyn Williams Anselevicius (1923-2003) was a BMC student in 1947. She became known internationally for her large-scale woven tapestries, often using Mexican rug weaving techniques and wool that was spun & dyed in Mexico.


And, of course, Ruth Asawa (1926-2013), who attended BMC from 1946 to 1949.

Have a great weekend!!!

3TT: Question Everything

Joining Carole & friends for a follow-up to last week's post about three artists at Black Mountain College (the obvious idea of which only occurred to me this morning as I was brushing my teeth).


1 - Suzi Gablik


Tropism #3, collage and oil on canvas

I learned that Suzi Gablik was only 16 years old when she attended Black Mountain College in the summer of 1951, and studied both painting and writing.

It was one of those defining choices in life. Although I was only there for two months, in that unorthodox environment, my maverick self, which was not easily accommodated at home, had the time and provocation to emerge.

She gave up practicing art in the 1970s to focus on writing art history and criticism, believing that she could effect more social change that way.


2 - M.C. Richards


Snow, letterpress on paper
(Portrait of) M.C. Richards, Skywinding Farm, Scaly Mountain, NC, ca 1970s,
Type C print by Jonathan Williams


Raku pot
Alchemical Form, stoneware


I'd ordered M.C. Richards' book, Centering In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person, before leaving for NC and it was waiting when I returned... never even thought to ask Kate if she had it, because she has A LOT of material about BMC. (And she does have it, of course!)

The person that had the strongest and most far-reaching effect on me was M.C. Richards. Albers opened my eyes. M.C. opened my mind and I will be forever grateful to her. --Carol Singer Kalbfeld, BMC student 1947-1948


3 - Hazel Larsen Archer


Interior of the Quiet House, gelatin silver print
Ruth Asawa, ca. late 1940s, vintage gelatin silver prints

Hazel Larsen Archer taught photography with an emphasis on "seeing" rather than on technique.



Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College was a beautiful show! We also wandered through the reference library and more exhibits in the lower level, and both left with some items from the shop... including the last two tote bags they had in stock (which we both need like a hole in the head). Ha. They're so USEFUL.

I'll have one more post about our visit to Black Mountain College Museum!


Unraveled Wednesday: Mitts & More

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


I love starting/knitting a project while I'm traveling because it's always a reminder of the trip!


I started the beaded Nugget Mitts while we were in North Carolina. The loveliness of this pattern is that the beading is all done in one row! I did that on the first mitt while we enjoyed a little downtime one evening, and now it's perfect travel knitting... and I did a bit of that during the daylight hours on the drive home.

I brought a lot of knitting with me, but this is the only thing I worked on. It was right back to work yesterday -- with a bunch of stuff to catch up on at home -- so I'm just going with this right now and will resume Banging Out a Cardigan when I have more than a second to think & breathe.

Ali & the kiddos were over for a bit last night.


Malina is now wearing the little Beatrice Top that I knit for Ginny -- and topping it off nicely, too! I knit much of that top while on a #whirlwindarttripwithkate to St. Louis in 2017.


I didn't do any reading on vacation, but we listened to quite a few podcast episodes:

I don't usually listen to podcasts very much, but these were so interesting!!

I still haven't picked up my book since returning home, but I have resumed listening to The Dutch House on my commute.

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

The trip was really great. Even though it was only for a couple of days, there's a lot to digest & share, so I'm going to start small... and right now.


Our Airbnb (plus) cottage was just about the cutest darn thing you ever did see... or ever might stay in.


We each had our own bedroom, separated by the bathroom -- those are the windows you see on the side of the house -- with a comfy & cozy living room and a very nice kitchen. The porch was big and welcoming, and there was a patio and a separate fire pit in the back (which we didn't use, but so nice!).


Great amenities, attention to detail & decor, and lots of little touches -- that's what makes it PLUS! That's a special designation for properties that go above & beyond... it's not available in my area, but you can bet that I'd be shooting for it!

Potentially mutually beneficial shameless plug: If you'd like to try Airbnb, use this link to save up to $55 on your first trip — and once your reservation is complete, I'll get a little credit to use toward future travel, too.

I've stayed at 28 different Airbnb properties in the last six years -- from Scotland to Spain, New York to Oregon, Michigan to Mexico, with many points scattered in between and some quite close to home. You won't be surprised to learn that I freakin' love Airbnb! They haven't all been as stellar as this adorable cottage, but I can honestly say that I've never had a dud. Next week it'll be a year since we welcomed our first guest as Airbnb hosts! We had 38 completed bookings last year, and five already this year -- with another this weekend and 11 more (so far) booked between now and October! We've had between one and five guests at any one time, for as little as one night or as many as 32! It's a lot of work, but I'm still enjoying it... I'll stop when I'm not!


3TT: Three Women of BMC

Joining Carole & friends for Three (Pertinent) Things on Thursday...

Kate & I are leaving later today for a quick trip to Asheville, NC. The main reason being to see a show at Black Mountain College Museum entitled Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College.

A little background:

There are many other influential, renowned, or even famous people to attend and/or teach at BMC in its relatively short lifespan -- Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Merce Cunningham, and Buckminster Fuller to name a few -- and I've seen the work of many in various museums and/or documentaries.

Arguably, the best known of them all to knitters & textile artists might be Josef & Anni Albers, to wit:

Though not the only ones to inspire knitting designs:

Anni Albers and Ruth Asawa are among the artists featured in Question Everything! For purposes today, I've plucked the names of three new-to-me artists, also included in the exhibition, to do some research ahead of the show!

1 - Suzi Gablik


Suzi Gablik (b. 1934) studied at BMC in the summer of 1951. She is an artist (painter, collage), art critic, author, and teacher. I am especially drawn to images in the "Tropism" series (#9, above).

tropism | 1 a : involuntary orientation by an organism or one of its parts that involves turning or curving by movement or by differential growth and is a positive or negative response of a source of stimulation

I'm excited to see if any of these pieces are included in the exhibition.

2 - M.C. Richards

Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards (1916-1999) was a poet, essayist, potter, painter, and teacher. She taught writing at BMC in the late 1940s, having moved there with her then-husband Albert William Levi Jr., a social scientist, when he was invited to join the faculty in 1945.

Her book, Centering In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person, was originally published in the 1960s, and became an underground classic (an original paperback can be had for a cool $989 and some change).

The book... pulled together ideas about perception, craft, education, creativity, religion and spirituality, arguing for the richness of daily experience if carefully attended to, and the creativity of the average person. "Poets are not the only poets," Ms. Richards wrote. --New York Times obituary of M.C. Richards

She sounds fascinating! I am not really what you'd call a "poetry person," but I could not resist that book... it's on the way!

3 - Hazel Larsen Archer


The first things I learned about Hazel Larsen Archer (1921-2001) was that she was born and raised in Milwaukee, that she had polio when she was 10, and that she was a photographer -- so right away there are a few points of connection and interest. She was both a student and a teacher at BMC, and in 1949 joined the faculty as the school's first full-time teacher of photography. She documented life -- performances, events, people -- at BMC. After leaving NC, she and her husband moved to Tucson, AZ, where she operated a freelance studio.

I'm excited about the show/the trip and you can be sure I'll fill you in on it all!


Unraveled Wednesday: Bangin' Out a Main Squeeze

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


So, I've made a couple of modifications to the Main Squeeze Cardigan... the main one being that I've converted the pattern to be knit in pieces and seamed!


(I really cannot stand knitting on circulars.) I'm also following the lead of another maker and knitting the cardigan one size larger on needles that are one size smaller, and incorporating vertical non-button-band front bands -- not only to avoid the circular situation, but because I like the way it looks! Though it looks a little sloppy right now, I think it will even out after finishing/blocking... and if it doesn't, I'll stabilize it with grosgrain.

Anyway, this is one of the fronts -- I never know if it's the left/right front when you're looking at the sweater or while wearing it! You can see where the second ball of yarn was attached just before the raglan decreases begin.


I love the Sand Stitch texture. Pardon the photos, it was going-on-dark last night when I got home!

We Make Our Own Arrows has taken a back seat, but I did make a little progress:


Triangles joined, first tail underway.


It's very contained, so I'll probably bring it along when we head toward NC tomorrow... along with my Main Squeeze and maybe two other projects. Haha! Y'know...


It's the same, so in lieu of that, here's one that Kate scored at the book store the other day:


It's legit.


We made Shirin Polo the other night and it was delicious. We didn't use quite enough chicken and, though not as sweet as I feared, we'll reduce the sugar by at least half next time. There will be a next time... there are a lot of bookmarked pages, so who knows when that'll be!


I got a new thing.

My new insurance cards came in the mail last week, along with the little booklet of benefits. I don't usually look at those things, but I idly flipped through and it landed on a page with a blurb about getting a FREE FITBIT (one per lifetime).

I've never really felt the need for a Fitbit (at least not to shell out dollars for), but if someone wants to give me one (using some of the many dollars that I've contributed)... well, I'll even shell out a few extra bucks for a better model.


Today's the first day with my new Inspire HR... and, yes, I am feeling a little bit inspired.




My mum would have been 82 today! I miss her everyday... and I don't suppose that'll ever change!


Unraveled Wednesday: Arrows

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


Last night I finished the second triangle needed to begin We Make Our Own Arrows, and I'm so excited to join them and carry on!


I am dying to start Banging Out A Sweater, but I'm going to hold my horses and wait until the official start on Saturday!

I also have a kit from Laura Nelkin for Nugget Mitts ready to cast on as soon as I get the proper needles. This project will be a bit more portable. And it has BEADS!


Y'know, I'm as slow as it gets in this department, so still:

And now I'm ready to launch -- it's a busy day off with lots to cross off my list. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!



We woke up on Saturday to the stickiest, prettiest snow...


There was snow stuck to even the itty-bittiest branches. You can usually still see through the trees a little bit, even when it's snowed like this, but in addition to sticky snow there was zero wind... it was magical, and lasted well into the morning.

Saturday was also a full-fledged Pajama Day! I've had one or two "close" ones in recent weeks. Most of those days have been spent sequestered in my workroom/office, getting caught up on books and prepping for tax time. I'm pretty much ready with Ali's stuff -- her tax lady might faint! And I'm taking a full head of steam into our personal stuff... maybe this is the year that I break the cycle of last-minute filing!

Sunday was a bit more... active. I had departing Airbnb guests, so crossed a few things off of that checklist right away in the morning.


I'd wound up my Bang-out Sweater yarn on Friday, started a sleeve-swatch (I love how it knit up!), and contemplated the knitting ahead. It all clicked on Sunday morning. I frogged my swatch, rewound the ball, and spent a lot of time on Sunday afternoon figuring out the details for the pattern modifications I have in mind. Stay tuned! I'll be casting on again on Saturday -- for real! I'm so excited. It feels like ages since I knit a sweater for myself (though really only a little over a year).

On Sunday night, Ali & I took Junah & Ginny to see Blue Man Group in Appleton.


Our seats were a little "up there"! And the railing seemed awfully low... I never even thought to check what level those box seats were on. For some reason, I was just thinking they were first floor, but we were on the FOURTH! So, a part of the stage was blocked from our view, but it was very cool to see some elements of the show (especially lights) from on high. I made the mistake of parking in a nearby ramp, and it took over an hour to make our exit... Ali took Junah to the bathroom, and then made another trip with both kids to get some food, and I hadn't moved an inch while she was gone either time. I will never make that mistake again!


Unraveled Wednesday: Looking Ahead

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

KNITTING -- Currently

I'm not breaking any records, but work continues on We Make Our Own Arrows.


I feel like these pieces sort of set the stage for what's to come, which is why they've each had a false start and/or some ripping out. It'll be so exciting to join them together and begin the tails! Unfortunately, it's not a very portable project.

I'll soon be casting on something small on DPNs... travel knitting!

KNITTING -- On My Radar

For one reason or another, I haven't had the desire to Bang Out A Sweater before, but this year? I'm doin' it.


Main Squeeze Cardigan from Mason-Dixon Knitting Guide No. 12: Big Joy

If there was ever a sweater made for bangin' out, it's this one!

Also, for one reason or another, I don't have much experience with Knit Picks yarn! I'm fixing that by knitting this in Wool of the Andes Bulky, in the new color "Stormy," scheduled to arrive today! This wouldn't normally be considered for travel, but since Kate & I will be driving to NC... it's coming along.


Color work is also in my future. Ha. Who am I kidding? It's been on my radar for years and I've even had a go at it a couple of times.*

For the past few years, I've been giving Rusty & Kate the Ootlier Calendar, so I have to go to the KDD & Co website every year to place my refill order... and this year I bought a little something for myself, too. I couldn't help it... I was just smitten!

There are a few projects in Milarrochy Heids that I love and could easily knit (more likely as cowls rather than hats, at least if intended for me) -- Cadans, Every Flavour, Let's Stripe (oh, yes, LET'S!); others that I also love but would be much more challenging -- Breiwick, Chezzetcook Inlet, Featherheid, Peerie Flooers, Tettegouche.


Those colours!

So this year, I am challenging myself to have another go at it, and to that end (and because, apparently, I cannot resist the Scots), I have signed up for Ysolda's Colourwork Club! "If you've never done stranded colourwork before this is the perfect way to learn..." I can't wait for the first pattern release at the end of the month.


Audio: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Pages: Fever by Mary Beth Keane.

*North Star Mittens turned out too small for me; luckily they fit Kate perfectly and she loved them... until they were lost. Latvian Mittens are unfinished... they are significantly different in size. Matching mittens of the same, intended size is a GOAL.

Weekending: Switching Gears

I couldn't think of any particular day that I'd prefer over another for taking down the tree, and it was really weighing me down, so I just buckled down and did the deed.


It took forever because, y'know, I just wasn't into it, but the majority got done on Saturday, and we packed up and moved the tree downstairs on Sunday morning. I liked the light from the tree, but I really love the wide open!

I usually leave the stockings up long past Christmas -- Easter is my self-imposed deadline -- because I hand-stitched every one and I like to look at them. This year? Christmas is done, man. I'm over it. It's time to move on!

I'd just seen this outside the back door:


...and took it as a sign. Kate made this garland of colorful birds for my mom several years ago and I ran across it while packing up and culling (one whole bag to donate) ornaments & decorations. It seemed like just the thing...



And speaking of spring/seasons, I've been meaning to share the wonderful gift that I received from Alison -- you can spot it in the photos above.


She had a local artist do four vignettes of our house -- one for each season -- reminiscent of one of our favorite children's books:

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton


Isn't that fab??? I just love it.


And then we did some furniture repair! One of the leaves on this rustic old drop-leaf table was split nearly in two, so we glued and clamped (three different types of clamps) and hopefully it'll hold.



...as in years... married...


...to this guy.

We're now at 50 days until Todos Santos, which is more or less a belated anniversary celebration!


Looking Ahead... Wanderlust

This photo was in my in-box this morning:


It was seven years ago yesterday that I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro! There was that unfortunate missed connection in Houston (by only :15 with the connecting gate literally right next door... that still bites!) that set me back a day, causing Annie to have to deliver this news to the boys. It turned out OK in the end, though, as I was actually able to negotiate to extend my stay! Still... this photo of these little boys (5 and 7 at the time) breaks my heart!

I finally found a calendar for work:


I love travel calendars and, these days, I love ticking off all the places that I've been! There are plenty more places yet to go...

And I am RESTLESS! I am literally counting the days (hours, minutes & seconds) until I can GO SOMEWHERE:


It's barely less than three weeks until the next #whirlwindarttripwithkate, and thank god because I don't know if I could bear the seven+ weeks until Rusty & I leave for Mexico with nothing in between... not the way I'm feeling right now!

So, the trip with Kate... we're headed back to North Carolina! And it'll definitely be whirlwind, leaving on a Thursday afternoon when we're both finished at work and returning on Monday. Last time, almost 5 years ago (!), our focus was Black Mountain, and it will be this time, too, but specifically a show at Black Mountain College Museum in Asheville. Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College. Though we saw plenty of art on our previous trip, the BMCM was closed for an installation; Kate's on their mailing list and she popped in out of the blue a couple of weeks ago (with some sort of Spidey sense) (when people were flying off to Europe and Australia and I was feeling extra feels) (and knowing that this is right up my alley) to suggest that we go! Besides, trips like this are good for us! We'll be staying in Asheville this time, at our first Airbnb with the "Plus" designation.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on putting my head down and getting all the things done (especially the distasteful ones) so I can truly vacate on vacay! Maybe I'll even get the Christmas tree down... heh.

I'm also thinking a lot about knitting and what I want to do this year. I don't usually set knitting goals and I have no idea what all I'm going to knit because... how many patterns are released on Ravelry each year? But I do know some things, and I'll share them next week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Unraveled Wednesday: Making Arrows

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

But first... it was a crazy intense 3-day weekend of mostly doing book work + a birthday party, followed by a slightly disoriented Tuesday back at work!

I'd mentioned on Friday that I intended to sew some bat wraps and/or 'roo pouches over the weekend, but I didn't do any of that. And I'm not going to. I really should have known better!

Over the weekend it became clear that exuberant "global helpful hands" are not actually helpful to anyone in Australia; instead, likely creating an overwhelming tide of stuff that may or may not be needed, that may or may not be useful, that may or may not arrive in time, that will definitely tax & divert resources just with the handling, sorting, determining, and dealing with said stuff.

I'll admit, I got a little carried away because my very own daughter is there, taking photos of actual fruit bats in need! But no. None of that is needed from me... nor from you nor from almost anyone else outside of Australia.

What is most helpful to Australia from here is money.

If stuff has to be made, it would be best all around to check with LOCAL wildlife centers, animal shelters, and/or humane societies to see what THEIR needs might be.



Is it too early to proclaim that Rusty is Husband of The Year?? I really wanted to write an Unraveled post today, but it's so lame without a photo... and I finished the first "starter" triangle for my second We Make Our Own Arrows shawl, so I actually had something I wanted to show!

Rusty's usually home in the morning, so I decided to ask him to take a couple of photos for me. This is what he sent:


Impressed that he actually went outside to take a shot! But you can see it, can't you?

I replied: Almost perfect... do you think you could do the same but with the "right side" showing??


And he did!

I had one false start with that piece, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm aiming for "similar but different" for the next one. I'm weaving in at least a few ends on this triangle before I cast on for the second.


I'm a bit of a jack-rabbit to start 2020! While doing aforementioned bookwork over the weekend, I did a lot of listening... I finished The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich, listened to all of Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo, and I also listened to all of Autumn by Ali Smith.

I am currently, happily, settling in with Tom Hanks' performance of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Fever gets my attention at night before I turn out my light and I'm going to have to start going to bed earlier!


The smallest perfect number

It hardly seems possible, but this happened on Sunday:


Junah turned SIX!

Six is, in fact, the smallest perfect number, but as they relate to grandchildren's ages, ALL numbers are PERFECT NUMBERS.


However, I reserve the right to claim 6 as one of my most FAVORITE NUMBERS when it comes to age!

I love this photo from our session last month... there are 12 people in this image and he's the only one looking at the camera. So sweet.


Five on Friday

Clean up... I have some random stuff to share!


I was LIVE on local radio yesterday! I'd shared a post on the Kaukauna Coffee & Tea and Make.Do FB pages about the "crafty" relief efforts for animals in Australia.



The host of a local radio program, who also happens to be a patron at KC&T, saw the post and got in touch with me about doing a short segment on the show. Did I mention LIVE? Yikes. I don't know anyone who actually heard it... I'm sure I rambled a bit.

I'd planned on making some Bat Wraps -- and I'll still make a couple -- but the need for those isn't as great as it was, so I think I'll make some cozy hanging pouches! I absolutely love that there's a daytime pouch (so little joey can look around) and a nighttime version (you should be sleeping little joey!!).

For more info: Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild (FB Page) and (FB GROUP). I find the GROUP page to be a bit more helpful, especially the links on the left for Announcements (current info & updates from admins) and for Files (where you can find patterns, tutorials & specs for knitting, sewing, and/or crocheting all the items they need). Casting On, my local yarn shop in Appleton, is collecting items and will be sending a big box (I hope) to Australia on the 27th!


Coincidentally, after telling Maddy that I was going to sew up some BAT WRAPS, she sent me a message (she'd posted on IG a day or two earlier about fruit bats, including one caught in a fence):

THANK YOU for the bat wraps!!! The lady who came to save our bats definitely used them, it was amazing! They cling onto the little stuffed pillow part and then you wrap the rest of it around them to hold their wings and claws down. Dang they're adorable.

I'm certain that not everyone shares feels that way about fruit bats (they're huge!), but many do... and I love that she does!


This photo was awaiting me in Snapchat this morning. She told me yesterday that the smoke had cleared up considerably where they were, though there were still fires around... and now (then) a dust storm!


In unrelated news, we built this a day or two after Christmas:


All the toy soldiers had a fun time on the motorized K'nex Ferris Wheel!! That was quite the project -- Ali started it, and Annie & I chipped in to help. The kids LOVED it!


I took some detail shots of the laundry bag that I made for Kate:


1) Overall/flat. 2) French seams! 3) Hanging loop -- which she really appreciated.


We are currently hosting our first Airbnb guests of 2020. Packers fans, they arrived from Seattle last night and are here for Sunday's NFL Playoff game in Green Bay between the Seahawks (coincidence!) and the Packers. It seems like ages (though only a month) since the last time we had Airbnb guests up there...


So I watered all the plants and fluffed/cozied up the bedroom.


Since Maddy cleared out the storage unit when she was here, there was another bed available, so we're transitioning to an actual full-time second bedroom. I have a nice queen-size air mattress that I would put in here, when needed, and had sort of resisted the idea of a permanent second bedroom... until I was recently searching for Airbnb accommodations for an upcoming #whirlwindarttripwithkate and realized that I prefer to book two beds/two bedrooms when we're traveling, so why not? In a lot of ways, it would be easier... and why not just TRY IT! I can always change my mind. Since I took this photo, we've added an actual bedframe (I'd initially ordered the wrong size - duh), and it will continue to evolve...

And also, this again today:


I've earned Superhost again for the third time in a row! Yahoo! Come and see me! Tell your friends!  :)  The Artist's Perch.


2019: The Sewing

The first sewing I did last year was to re-vamp a long waffle-knit cardigan.


There had been ribbing at the bottom, creating an unflattering bubble-butt look, and also at the wrists. If I recall correctly, I'd picked it off the "clearance" rack at Goodwill for $1. It was so much better once I cut off the ribbing and I've worn it a lot! I'd wear it more if I ever got around to adding pockets.

The second thing I sewed was for my seldom-used BuJo.


I may begin using it again to track my soon-to-be-resumed DuoLingo Spanish practice. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some other forgotten notes, so who knows...

I spent well over 100 days sewing on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket... and not just at home. I stitched on trips to NYC, Nevada/Arizona, Michigan, and in the car.


There is still so very much to do. My last attempt at 100 days was thwarted by... everything! Life, the holidays, and Ali & Rod buying/fixing/moving into a new house -- to name a few. I am currently in the process of cleaning up my workroom/worktable (Kate noticed, so progress!) and wish to resume this practice, as well.

I bought a new sewing machine in spring of 2019, but it was mid-summer before I even got it out of the box. I really loved my old machine, a Viking Husqvarna (which was already old when I received it in the early 1980s), but had been warned by my service guy that the plastic cams were wearing out and it was getting very difficult to find replacements. I found working cams to be indispensable in the making of buttonholes!

My new machine is a Baby Lock Jubilant, and I am learning new tricks! My favorite things about the new machine are the needle threader, see-thru bobbin case, speed control, that it always stops with the needle in the fabric, that the needle can be raised with the push of a button, that it's lightweight but sturdy, and making buttonholes is a breeze. I also like the free-arm sewing capability. I only bought two accessories right off the bat: an extension table and a walking foot.

My first projects were outfits for a family photo shoot -- matching dresses for Ginny & Malina and coordinating vest & bow tie for Junah -- using a sheet and old curtains, both fabrics closely associated with my mother.


Malina ended up wearing a romper, instead, that Ali had made when Ginny was a baby -- from the same sheet design! (There were numerous sets! Some are still in use!)


Oh Junah! He was just not into it that day...

The speed control feature of my new machine was very useful during Auntie Camp when the boys learned to sew and made their own pillowcases!


Those pillowcases were so much fun that I made a few more after they all left!


And I'd still like to make a few more!

I found some great fabrics at Field's when I visited with Kym in Michigan last fall, including some with a "world" design that made me think of all the travelers in my family. I bought a few yards with the very vague idea of making travel laundry bags. I found a pattern/tutorial that I liked, though as with so many online tutorials, there's an ad between every paragraph, a bazillion enormous photographs (which can be helpful, of course, but also t.e.d.i.o.u.s, and it's all so awkward to navigate and utterly impossible to print. So I used another favorite website/service -- Print Friendly -- to whittle it down, export it to a Word document, resize & rearrange the remaining photographs, and make a manageable, usable, savable, printable PDF for my own use.

I made some modifications -- no stencil, and fabric proportions were different in order to maximize the motif of the "travel" fabric, french seams -- and I made SIX laundry bags!


That's three photos of the same bag, which belongs to Kate, and which just returned from it's first trip -- to Brooklyn! Two other laundry bags are in Australia, and three more are in Spain! They are approximately 15" wide by 20" long, with a drawstring, and also a loop for hanging. I used scrap fabrics in b&w prints that I had for the "coordinating" pieces -- some worked better than others -- but they're laundry bags...

The real beauty of making/giving these at Christmas is that they doubled as GIFT BAGS!! They were extremely well received and appreciated. I love it when I hit the mark!

But that's not all... I also made actual, intentional GIFT BAGS!


OK, well, one gift bag was made in time to actually use for Christmas gift-giving -- the "fruit" bag was used for some of Rusty's gifts. The other three had been cut, but I finished them just last weekend (part of the clean-up effort in my workroom)! A few more photos & details about those are on Instagram here and here.


2019: The Knitting

I didn't knit a lot last year, but SOCKS made a big return... in big yarn! 2019-knitting

I finished 14 projects last year... and there's not a mystery* among them!

  • One hat
  • Four pairs of socks
  • Two baby/toddler sweaters
  • One wall hanging
  • One infinity scarf
  • Two pairs of mitts/mittens
  • Three cowls...


...which I hadn't added to my Ravelry page before I made the collage! They're there now.

So far this year, I've finished a pair of Woodland Slippers, and last night I started another "Arrows" scarf.

The scarf is by request from the person to whom I gave the first! She has proven herself to be very knit-worthy, and requested the same scarf but in more neutral colors. This is a terrible photo taken late and in lamp light (thanks, winter!), but these are the colors so far (surprisingly accurate given the situation)... let me know if there's anything here that makes you cringe.


*I would have done Kirsten's Shawl MKAL, but I don't think she ever had one -- am I wrong? I recall an announced delay and then I either missed it or it just never happened.


2019: The Reading



I read 10 books in 2019... and had a goal of 20 (down from 25 in 2018, of which I read 15).



My favorites were Fox 8, The Summer Walkers, Blood, Uncommon Type, and Daisy Jones & The Six.

My least favorite (to put it nicely) were The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Daughters of the Lake.

In truth, I didn't actually finish "lemon cake" until last night... it was a struggle.

I am currently 3 hours from finishing the 14-hour listen that is The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II... and that'll be a big one under my belt to begin 2020!

Ready to crack open tonight: Fever for the book club hosted by Kym, Bonny & Carole!

_ _ _ _ _

Have a good weekend! I'll be doing more catch-up stuff and not taking down my Christmas tree.


Begin as you mean to go on...

Everyone seems to be where they want to be, or are on their way, or are making plans.


Maddy & Viv had a rough start to their journey with a long delay in Milwaukee, but made Monday's last flight out of Minneapolis to Seattle on stand-by, and their tight connection at LAX just before midnight (CST) last night, and are now on their way to Sydney! From there, they'll eventually make their way to Margaret River in Western Austrialia, where jobs await!

Kate's Monday flight from Green Bay was flat-out canceled at the last minute (she was at the gate), and though Tuesday's connections were a little hairy, she made it and is settled in Brooklyn -- a few hours (and a day) late, but there! She'll be back for a few days next week, then off to London for a quick visit, then a road trip with me (see below), then a few days in Prague, and then spending most of March house-/pet-sitting for friends in Edinburgh!

Ali has been happily nesting in her new home. The girls all wished they could have gone out at least one more work day, but illness through us all a curve ball. Rusty spent the entire day there yesterday and every little bit helps. It looks amazing in photos and I can't wait to go out there myself again soon!

Ann & her family are in Madison for a few more days before heading back to Spain on Sunday, where they'll begin preparing for a summertime move to... LIMA, PERU!!

I am content at home, at the moment, catching up on (and cleaning up) all the little things, and doing a little vacation planning... a #whirlwindarttripwithkate will be happening next month, a trip to Mexico with Rusty in March, and now, obviously, Peru is on the list of possibilities (maybe even in fall!).

Begin as you mean to go on... and for us, I guess the key word is: GO!


Year In Review!

Here we go again Year In Review!

I do it in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- the two are not necessarily related.

January 2019:

I started & finished 19 items in 2018, with the exception of "Habu for Me" which was started in 2009!


February 2019:

This has been the state of things all weekend, more or less, and it's currently coloring my mood.


March 2019:

There seemed to be more contrails and planes in the sky this morning than I've seen in a while!


April 2019:

We went down the hill to 313 Dodge on Friday night for our local going-out version of Friday Night Snacks.


May 2019:

We celebrated Ginny's 3rd birthday last Thursday!!


June 2019:

I arrived home last night and am back at work today.


July 2019:

[I can hardly believe it's July!] Now's the time that summer feels like it might be slipping away, especially because we've hardly had any summer weather to enjoy... so.much.rain.


August 2019:

I'm in a slump. Trying hard to dig out...



08-August opt

September 2019:

This is my fourth In Threes Baby Cardigan!


October 2019:

The History of the Handkerchief presentation over the weekend was informal, full of anecdotes and factoids (of the factual type), and made most interesting by audience participation -- personal stories and memories -- and the presentation of several examples (including by one attendee who brought a box full)!


November 2019:

[Hi. I lied!] I will be posting while I'm away because NaBloPoMo, the idea of which has been drifting in & out of my consciousness for the past couple of weeks... and not with dread, so here I am!


December 2019:

Yikes, this is a crazy month.



12-December 2

I know I  say it every year: I can't quite believe the year is almost over!



It was really great to have all of my girls home for Christmas this year!


Especially great to have Maddy & Viv here for most of December. It was a super busy month! And now, "normal" is beginning to return...

Kate leaves today for Brooklyn to begin work on the three-day exhibition to benefit Art Start, opening on Friday, Jan. 3rd, at Ortega y Gasset Projects.

Originally scheduled to begin their journey back to Australia yesterday (with an overnight at friends' in MKE, closer to the airport), the tummy bug we've (most of us) all shared in the days since Christmas caught up with Maddy and they needed that extra day here to finish/catch up prior to departure.


Rusty's taking them directly to the airport today, and they stopped by a little while ago for final farewells. Ugh. It's always too soon!

Ann and her family will leave tomorrow...


Happy Holidays!!

Let the crazy begin!


This is what happens when your photographer says, "Look at your favorite person!" Hilarious!! And may the jocularity continue...

I'm working this morning, but off at noon... a quick stop with co-workers and then a stop at the grocery store. I know! I just finalized the festivities menu(s) last night... and I weirdly love the hubbub of last-minute grocery shopping.


  • 24th: Christmas Eve! Today would have been Grandma Blum's 107th birthday.
  • 25th: Merry Christmas! We'll have our immediate family celebration.
  • 26th: Rusty's enormous-number birthday! Ann & family arrive.
  • 27th: Birthday party at the bowling alley. Family gift exchange.
  • 28th: Breathe a little. But also a quick outing to the candy store with the big kids.
  • 29th: Rusty takes Maddy & Viv to Milwaukee -- first leg of their return Down Under. (sad face)
  • 30th: Kate heads to Brooklyn for the opening of MIRROR EYE...

Young Space is excited to partner with Far x Wide for a three-day exhibition at Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, NY, to benefit Art Start. This exhibition showcases exceptional work by early-career and emerging artists, and 50% of proceeds from sales support the mission of New York City nonprofit organization Art Start in their continuing mission to identify and nurture young people through art (the other 50% to artists)!

January 3-5, 2020 at Ortega y Gasset Projects, 363 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Opening times: Friday 3 January: 1-6 (+ opening reception 6-9); Saturday 1-6; Sunday 1-4

  • 31st: New Year's Eve -- likely a quiet one!



Mother, Mother, I want another!


It was a GREAT weekend... but I sure could use another. I had Saturday to myself and spent the day in my PJs, mainly sewing and getting a little bit organized. I've been making stabs at this bag project over the past couple of weeks and finally made the push to finish them. My assembly line was humming along when it dawned on me that there was a difference between fronts & backs (including intentional position & size when I cut the pieces), and that I'd forgotten to insert the little loop in all of the backs before sewing up. I almost let them go without, but I spent some time & effort to make them all, so just buckled down and did the deed. I'm glad I did.

Rusty & I went to a Solstice Party on Saturday night... another fun evening to wear PARTY PANTS!

I putzed a little on Sunday morning, then took Kate out to Ali's so she could paint, and I grabbed the kiddos for a few hours.


It was so nice outside that we went to a park (the one with the rubber play surface). There was still quite a bit of snow and I almost nixed it, but they really wanted to give it a go... they had the place to themselves and THEY HAD A BLAST! Well, until Ginny slipped going up the slide and landed on her chin. Ouchie! There were tears and blood, but she was a trooper. We went to my house for snacks and coloring, and also watched some Christmas music stuff on YouTube... oops, and also Harry Styles!

A recent guilty pleasure... so catchy & cute! In my defense, the YouTube thing led me to believe it was Harry Styles singing a Christmas song, but it was actually from a concert AT Christmas time. Heh. Malina liked it... she was dancing!

I think it was a very good thing that I took the kids for a while because when we returned, Ali was on the couch. I think the pre-holiday hoopla + fixer upper stuff + moving has caught up with her. Maddy, too, was back & forth to Stevens Point on Friday, then to Door County on Saturday, and had intended to be out there painting yesterday, but was a little bit under the weather. Nothing serious with either one of them and thankfully they know enough to listen to their bodies!


But look what Kate was able to accomplish while we were gone!


Maddy & Viv finished trimming the tree last night!


And I did some more sewing. This is Ellen Mason's Runaway Bag, recently seen at Through The Loops' IG #giftbagalong, and I'm hoping to make a few more for giving... with gifts within! I'll wrap some of the kids' stuff with paper, but mostly it'll be this sort of thing. This was really fun to make!!



Friends + Family = FRAMILY


The wonderful Mary from Fox Valley Birth and Baby come over a couple of weeks ago to take some photos for us.

There are a bunch more photos over on Insta if you'd like to take a gander. We had so much fun.

Have a great weekend, everyone! It's the final countdown, and I could feel the tension as I drove home from work last night -- a noticeable shift from the day before. I'll be hunkered down at home, for the most part, working on some projects, though it looks like there'll be a move happening this weekend, so who knows!!


3TT: 3x3+1

Life is a little bit crazy around here on any given day, but lately... man, it's OFF THE CHARTS.

1st THREE:


Blatantly stolen from Kate's IG Stories yesterday. That's the downstairs bathroom/powder room, and we couldn't stop looking at those before & after photos last night!! Motivation!

2nd THREE:


You may have seen these three images on my IG yesterday, but even going "vertical," I couldn't fit the entire "playhouse" into the frame. You can see Junah starting to climb the first ladder... those ladders could be angled a bit, in my opinion, and also the entry holes enlarged. Ahem. I climbed to the top with him! You can see the house and one of the outbuildings/garage behind him in the second, and the other outbuilding in the third.

3rd THREE:

IMG_1888-COLLAGEDid this little girl have a premonition yesterday, sporting this particular pink hat?? Photos taken at such an angle because she's wearing tights -- very excited about wearing tights -- but wearing nothing else on the bottom half! (Brrrr.)



Three Gingers & a Blonde* walk into a fixer-upper farmhouse on a Wednesday in December... and KILLED IT (along with a couple bottles of wine).

*With a huge assist from Dad!!


Just Sharon

She hated being called "Shari" or "Shar" or "My Sharona" or anything other than just SHARON.


Nine years. I miss you so much. xoxo


Weekending: All kids, all the time*

As mentioned, I did my part in helping Ali & Rod get their house in shape by taking the kids for the weekend.

We hung out at home on Saturday... and it seems like there was a lot of eating! So many snacks.

Junah grabbed one of the bags in which said snacks were delivered and disappeared. Soon he was back, asking for another... and another... and another...

Turns out, he was bagging up all the toys, dolls, puzzles, balls -- basically everything in their small play area except the furniture -- he was pretending that he was THE GRINCH and he was STEALING CHRISTMAS! Gin was his co-hort (aka, MAX). He piled it all up by the front door. And a little while later, he brought it all back!

On Sunday, we had breakfast, watched a quick movie, and then headed to the children's museum. It opened at noon (we arrived around 12:15) and closed at 5 pm (which is when we left).


There was a sensory area for a while where the kids played with "fake snow" -- baking soda + shaving cream. Junah & Ginny loved it... especially Gin.


One of the highlights of our local museum has always been the water play area, complete with rain coats!


This area has had a slight revamp since my last visit, with lightweight plastic "stones" replacing torn foam. It's a vast improvement! The big kids were busy loading up all the dump trucks, and later the hard hats, to move all the stones into one big pile. They did pretty well, too, and even recruited other kids who came into the area.


I love how fashion-y Ginny looks in these photos. Malina's just... Malina!


The tree house with bridges and ramps made of rope & otherwise, and with portholes and cubbies, has also been a long-time feature. And favorite!


There's a nice big area for artistic pursuits, as well. I love love love this photo of Ginny.

When the museum closed, we headed out to the new house... and then back to my house for dinner.

We're planning a Sisters + Viv + Dad + Mom (later) Day on Wednesday! Finally... painting will happen! And lots of it. I have a couple of appointments, or I'd be there earlier. Can't wait!!

*Except while sleeping... Nona needs a little downtime!



TGIF: Welcome Home!!

It's a done deal.


Ali & Rod closed on their new old house yesterday.


Rusty will load up his tools and spend the weekend out there, helping with a few things that need to be done before they will actually move in. Fresh paint, correctly applied, will do wonders, but there's a bit more than that needed in some areas.

I'll do my part by taking the kids!