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Sewing and Knitting and Cooking and Sky-watching



Oh.My.Word. I am so in love with this Alabama Chanin swing skirt project!


I don't remember whether I mentioned it here, but I was SHOCKED when I opened my kit and found Burgundy & Dark Grey (exactly what I ordered) instead of Dark Grey & Dove (which is what I was going to order right up 'til the last minute, when I daringly changed my mind).

There was nothing to do but DO, which is exactly what I did... not only is it a work-in-progress, it is also a design-in-progress. 


One thing's for sure: these colors are working for me!!


Well. I finished a pair of Dimorphous Mittens a while back (except for buttons), and still have my Scoreboard Cowl to finish, but hadn't been too inspired to knit much lately (or have been more inspired to sew). But now...

  • I am well underway with Romi's Mystery Shawl 2016. I had to find & fix a little mistake at the end of Clue 2 last night (employing all the stitch markers) to keep on track!
  • Casting on of LOLA is imminent! I will be knitting this sweater in pieces, and beginning with a provisional cast-on (keeping options open... because designing as I go seems to be A Thing). All the materials are gathered and I'm finally ready to go!


  • I'm not sure where Werifesteria will fit in, but it's not the knitting that I'm most interested in at this point, anyway. This is the second mystery Knit-Along/Walk-Along presented by Christina Campbell and I thoroughly enjoyed both aspects of the first. A March Through Time is probably my most-worn winter knit this year! Mostly, though, I am interested in the motivation to get out and walk this spring. Let's go!! (By the way, this KAL/WAL begins tomorrow! It is automatically 20% off through 3/31 -- that's today!)

COOKING (and Eating)


Beef & Lamb Meatballs over Green Pea Risotto a la Plated. Yum. Our box also held the ingredients for a wonderful skillet-roasted chicken with some fennel and potatoes. I was a bit unsure about the new subscription plans, so have sat out deliveries for a bit, but decided to get back in; I am in charge and can skip whenever I like (such as the next two weeks, for various reasons) or even suspend deliveries for a lengthier period of time, but I really do enjoy not having to think about what I'm going to cook sometimes -- or even having to shop for it! Plus, I get to try new things or prep methods and have reasonable assurance that it's all going to turn out fine great. I have a few  invitations available (up to $72 off with subscription); if you're interested in trying Plated yourself, let me know and I'll send you an email invite!


I ordered Fish Tacos at Houdini's Escape Gastropub at 5th Tuesday Knit Night; also in the frame are pub fries, a grilled veggie sandwich, and tortellini with portabello mushroom. Also yum. I really need to expand my horizons beyond the tacos at this establishment, but... SO GOOD!



Arriving at work - view to the east - March 18, 2016


Arriving at work - view to the east - March 22, 2016


Arriving at work - view to the east - March 29, 2016

The weather has been decidedly chilly, dreary, gray, and wet and looks to be that way for a while (perhaps even some snowflakes flying), so I'll just park these photos here so I can easily visit until nice weather returns.

Ten on Tuesday: Outside

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love To Do Outside


1 - Hanging laundry on the line. My die-hard brother-in-law does it year-round, but I just can't... it's one of my favorite things in the world, though.


2 - Ride my bike. I've been slackin' the past few years. Aiming higher...


3 - Soak up the sun/daydream/watch my back yard world go by from the porch/deck/pergola.

4 - Eat & drink on the porch/deck/pergola.

6 - Knit & sew on the porch/deck/pergola.

6 - Read on the porch/deck/pergola.

7 - Take a walk.


8 - Do a little gardening/yard work now and then.

9 - Dyeing/Stenciling. At this point, much of that work is better accomplished outside where there's more room (and less stuff to be careful about accidentally dyeing).

10 - Putzing. There's no better place to putz than outside on a warm sunny day. It's like heaven.

Weekending: Easter +/-



Thankfully, we didn't get as much as we could have (or as much as those a bit to the north of us got), but combined with the slippery roadways and high wind, it was enough to call it a very welcome SNOW DAY!



Rusty called from the vet on Friday morning with GOOD NEWS! Our lovely Roxie had been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth a couple of months ago; she'd lost an incredible amount of weight and was losing fur like crazy. Cancer treatment was expensive and results (length/quality of life) highly questionable; instead, we changed her food to something easier for her, considered her in "kitty hospice," and have kept a keen watch. Since then, she's maintained her weight (within .2 lb.), still loses fur but not as bad (I'd bought a stick vac to keep up!), and has continued to be her sweet little self! (Junah loves her... calls her "Rock-keys.") Recently, she seemed to be slightly more bothered about her mouth, and it seemed a good idea to get a read... we prepared for the worst. Turns out, the "fast-spreading cancer" had not spread at all; so, said the vet, perhaps it's not cancer but a bad infection instead! No question, we decided to try the steroid/antibiotic combo and she already seems to be improving. Please think good kittie thoughts!!


Friday evening: Duodenum Live Performance at the Young Space "Remote View" pop-up show in Green Bay. (Everything I do, I do it for YOU!) What a hoot.



I hung out with this kid for a while in the morning, playing with balls and blocks and cars & trucks of all sizes.

After that, I stopped in at a local library to do a little stitching with some crafty friends for an hour before heading to the grocery store. Um, yeah... Saturday afternoon before a gigantic holiday. Truthfully, I rather enjoy the excited energy of the grocery store on days like that. I had a thorough and organized list and the store was well staffed, so it was relatively painless.



New traditions? Maybe... something(s) new, at any rate. Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake and Veggie Lasagna, recipe compliments of our friend TJ, were on the menu yesterday. That cake recipe has been on my list forever, and I'm sure it was one of the first things I ever pinned on Pinterest. TJ made the lasagna for dinner on our last night in Portland, and it was fabulous, plus, you've just gotta love a recipe that starts with "eyeball your vegetables"!


The lasagna was nearly demolished... it was so delicious!! And the cake was half-gone before I thought to take a photo. I didn't have the size/type of pan, so there was some spilling over of batter that burned on the bottom of the oven, and my frosting turned out a bit thinner that I'd have liked, but none of that really mattered. It was so good!!


I completed stitching on the second panel of my Alabama Chanin skirt! I'm looking forward to cutting both panels, and prepping the last two panels. I'm hoping to have this skirt finished by May 7th so I can wear it to Rosanne Cash's concert!



Timehop has been very good with the reminders of late!! I can't believe that our amazing trip to England-Scotland-Wales was 5 years ago.


Craftsy - 1200x627_gallery_knitting

Sale ends tonight!

I went to Oregon (Part 4: Old Home, The End)

Completely unplanned, we ended up doing at least a drive-by of every place I'd lived during my 4+/- years in Oregon.

My first residence was a tiny furnished house, rented for me by my dad & his wife, on Latimer Road in Tillamook. It was super cute -- part of a little complex of tiny houses connected by shared carports. I especially loved the spacious kitchen there. The place hadn't changed a bit!


View toward Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda.

When I met him, Rusty was living in his house at Cape Kiwanda but working in Tillamook. As we began to spend more time together, we decided to rent a house in Tillamook. Pickings were very slim, but we found a small house on First Street. It had been abandoned by previous tenants and the power had been shut off... with food in the fridge... for months. I don't remember much about the landlord situation, but I'm sure that Rusty negotiated the rent wherein we got rid of the ghastliness in the fridge and did some other cleaning & fixing up. I remember turning one of the two bedrooms into a huge closet (as neither bedroom had any other type of closet), and the small-ish kitchen had wooden countertops. That house hadn't changed a bit, either!

After a little while, having two places got to be a drag and we decided the drive wasn't all that bad (unless stuck behind a motorhome or eight), so gave up the First Street house and moved to Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City. As we worked at doing some adding on and finishing, I discovered that I was pregnant! That house had been built for one person and the addition helped for two, but adding a baby to the mix... just wasn't going to work!


Near the beach, Cape Meares.

We sold that house and bought one at Cape Meares, but first... homeless for a month between closings, we rented a small unit at the Terimore Motel in Netarts. We were able to move most of our belongings into the house, but I decided to stash the basinette and a few baby things in the closet at the motel. Good thing!





Clearly, we don't remember exactly which unit we lived in. I was going to say that this place hasn't changed a bit, either (and I'll bet it hasn't!). Both Rusty and I have made this mistake... I think our unit was actually behind this one! Ha.


Effects of prevailing wind (at Cape Meares State Park).

Finally, when Kate was about a week old we moved to a nice little house on Meares Ave NW, Cape Meares. We did a lot of work there, too, including replacing the deck, painting the exterior, and building a driveway/patio and enclosed porch. The house is completely unrecognizable now with a second-story addition!


Gorgeous ocean view from Cape Meares State Park.


The Octopus Tree.

We had a nice visit with my dad and his wife while we were in Tillamook, and with my cousin Gordy and cousin-in-law John who were out from MN to do some steelhead fishing.


On Sunday, we headed inland...


We stopped near Salem for a lunch date with Rusty's ex-wife, her husband, and a few of their friends. This is a view from the living room -- there are sheep out there -- you can't see them, but I know they're there (beyond the little building, just behind the hedgerow).

Finally, to Portland for dinner* & overnight with our good friend TJ and her husband Les. We had such a good visit with them and our friend Bill -- it was so great to see them/hug them in person!


Fly away home. New PDX carpeting.

*I'm making TJ's yummy & not-too-soupy veggie lasagna recipe for Easter!


Craftsy - 1200x627_gallery_knitting

I went to Oregon (Part 3)


Compared to Shore Acres, the ocean scene at our little cottage just south of Yachats was quite serene! It was just after sunset, but still a lovely glow in the west.

Our northerly trek along the coast continued the next day, though at a more leisurely pace. We stopped in Newport and took a walk along the boardwalk and bayfront.


The unmistakable sound of sea lions reverberated throughout. We could see them along some rocks out in the harbor, and then discovered a large (noisy) gr0up right at a small pier.


 This is just a small sampling of the many murals of all sizes and ages that we saw.


We eventually made it to our Airbnb lodging just south of Pacific City, where we plunked down for two nights. We couldn't have asked for better -- up a hill and with a command view of a wild ocean and dramatic, ever-changing sky -- and we loved the different view of Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda.


We'd barely landed before we were off to do a little peekin' (and maybe even a little trespassing) at the house that Rusty built (ca. 1983) and that I helped to enlarge & finish (ca. 1984) and where we were married (in 1985). A lot has changed in 31 years. We weren't able to check out the house from the inside (we tried!).

We used to have a terrific view of Haystack Rock from the kitchen & bedroom windows at that house... but no more! There are so many more houses (and they're so close!).


A photo app on my phone stitched together this awesome pano (with wavy ocean) from some photos that I took at the beach near the cape. That's Rusty at water's edge.

I went to Oregon (Part Yarn... um 2)

Arguably, there are more yarn stores per capita in Portland, OR, than any other U.S. city, but I knew that I wouldn't have time during my trip to visit even one! So I did a little research and made a short list of coastal shops.

My Yarn Shop - Coos Bay, OR


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to shop at this store. The lights were on and OPEN sign was lit, but the door was locked and there was a "Will Return at 4:30" sign in the window... it was 4:45, closing was posted as 5:00, and we didn't have time to wait (time to shop, yeah, but not to wait). I tried the door a few times, and then once or twice more (I really wanted in), before we moved on. I include it because it looked like a great shop!

Yarn For All Seasons - Newport, OR


This one was a little trickier to find, tucked into a larger tourist-y shopping center, and the GPS pin was just a bit off. It was worth finding!


Twisted Sisters "Happy Kids" yarn + onesie: There's a baby on the way!

Noro Silk Garden: for an entrelac scarf (the one I made for Mom in similar colorway has never turned up). My LYS doesn't carry Noro yarns anymore (supply chain frustrations), but I'm hopeful that they will again.

Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails: I wanted them ALL!

In The Wind Yarns - Lincoln City, OR (Gleneden Beach)


This is a lovely shop, located right across from Salishan. The shop owner was working on a shawl by French designer Cailliau Berangere called Bryum -- it was at least the third or fourth she'd done, all in different combos -- and I fell in love!


I bought some Noro Silk Garden Sock and Malabrigo Sock for the task.


PDX shops are on the list for our next visit!

First Day of Spring!!


I found a little spring on the West Coast last week. Sadly, no photos of the flowering trees that I saw now and then, nor of rhodies. The only other place I've seen rhododendrons so marvelous and huge was in Ohio when we visited Sharon there once. We had a giant red rhodie outside our house at Cape Meares back in the day. Gorgeous.

The 1st Day of Spring means it's the anniversary of the blog! Twelve years ago, I typed some words and hit "publish now." Since then, I've written 2850 posts and received nearly 25,000 comments.

Various pages hereon have been viewed over 1,050,000 times, mostly from within the U.S., but also from Canada, U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan, and Norway. People land here by searching for "knitorious," "roasted tomato sauce," "red are strawberries song," and "Alabama Chanin." They also land here from other blogs, such as Mason Dixon Knitting, ZeneedleCarole Knits, and January One; from blog readers and other sources such as Feedly, Bloglovin', Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more.

Blogland certainly has changed in 12 years!!

I've changed, too. I quit smoking (11 years as of last Thursday), my kids have grown up; I became and aunt again (x2), a mother-in-law and a grandmother; and I've lost loved ones, including my mother, sister, grandmother, uncles and cousins.

I've knit like crazy, sewn as I never dreamed I would, dyed yarn & fabric, and even made a quilt with my daughter (and started another on my own).

I've traveled! Often within WI and the U.S., twice to U.K., to Mexico, and even to Brazil. I've had the craziest good times meeting up with other knitters/friends in various places.

Mostly, I feel that I've been empowered by blogging (reading blogs as much as writing a blog) to explore more, to be more adventurous -- it comes from here, a knitting blog, but spills into all areas of my life.

Though I've been a bit scarce of late, it's sure been fun! We'll see how Lucky 13 turns out!!

Thanks for reading and dropping a line now and then.  ;)

P.S. Though I haven't been doing much knitting lately, either... it's SPRING and that means time for Romi's Mystery Shawl! The first clue was released last Friday and, while I have my pattern, I still haven't decided on yarn... but I will. Also, still planning my Habu boxy top!

I went to Oregon (Part 1)

I flew out to Arcata, CA, a week ago to meet Rusty and accompany him on the last leg of his West Coast trip before he turned the car for home.


I arrived on Wednesday evening, and we hit the road on Thursday morning.


First stop, though, was the World's Largest Totem Pole (not tallest) in McKinleyville, CA.


Second stop was breakfast at the Seascape Restaurant & Pier at Trinidad; Rusty's mother used to like this place and there's an old photo of her standing by a whale-shaped sign that pointed the way. We happened to be among the first customers to enjoy first-ever major renovations! It was pretty spiffy, and the staff was giddy.


We also visited the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse.

Our destination by day's end was Yachats, OR -- 5.5 hours away -- and lots to see along the way!


Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA! There are a few Paul Bunyans in WI and I just had to see this one (plus, it was right on the way).

I was expecting nothing but gray skies and rain on this trip, so imagine my delight at this:


I even had to wear sunglasses!


It was wonderful! The sky & clouds were ever changing, even when it was raining. Sometimes we'd experience all the weather in a very short timespan/distance.

One of our favorite stops -- and Must See on Rusty's list, especially since there was surf -- was Shore Acres State Park at Coos Bay.


It was dramatic, moody, broody, amazing, and utterly gorgeous! Those rocks -- the angle of those rock ledges jutting toward the sea, and other formations -- blows my mind.

We stopped in Florence, too. Rusty's dad is considering a fishing/canning operation there. It's a cute and historic town, with lots of fishing and shopping -- and antiques! I didn't recall that there were so many antique shops/malls along the coast.

We finally made it to our cozy cottage near Yachats just as the sun went down, and then went in search of dinner. I highly recommend Luna Sea Fish House if you're ever there -- the food was great, the service spectacular! We were lucky to nab one of the last servings of marionberry cobbler. Mmmm.

To be continued.

Weekending: A Week Behind!

I don't know how that happened... there's a lot of juggling going on around here, though, so let's chalk it up to that.


I just love the body language in this photo. We have three kitties at our house -- and all three are pretty good at avoiding Junah! He gets so excited when he sees one, though, and Roxie is (always has been) the most tolerant of young children. (Also, wearing Grandpa's hat! He put it on and started to say, "Buh-ba? Buh-ba?")


One thing led to another on the weekend-before-last, and pretty soon a few hours on a Saturday afternoon at Nona's house turned into a sleep-over with a bonus trip up to Annie's for a visit with the boys and Sunday brunch!


Good (very early for a Sunday) morning with epic bed-head (the boy needs a haircut soon)!! It was our first sleep-over in about a year, and it went very well.


Patience for photos with the cousins... not so much. The boys were so excited, though! First they built a fort on their bunkbeds and when Junah wasn't terribly interested, they moved the whole production into the living room. He's still just a bit too young for that type of play... I doubt it'll be long, though.


Since I was in possession of our Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt kits, there may have been an ulterior motive behind my invitation to brunch! I had even started stitching on mine. Annie's is ochre-on-ochre and that color is DIVINE! Last we spoke, her plan had changed to reverse applique over most of the skirt, with couching on the bottom 6" or so. Whatever she does, it's going to be fabulous!


It was fun to do some stitching with my sis!!


Even though I'd practiced the negative reverse applique technique on my swatch, I couldn't wait to see how it was going to look with the actual fabric & colors that I'm using for the skirt. I haven't cut any more than that but am stitching everyday and getting closer to finishing that panel. So exciting!


I'm also continuing my consultation with Ina Braun regarding my LOLA sweater... measurements, gauge swatch, design elements... we're getting close! My short trip to CA/OR begins on Wednesday and I hope to bring this along as my knitting project. Of course, I'll bring sewing, too.

My Kind of Town Chicago Is


Way back before Christmas, it was decided that while Rusty was traipsing around the west coast, we'd have a girls' weekend in Chicago. Maddy's never been with us on previous trips, and we all looked forward to a fun few days together. We put our heads together and came up with a pre-baby, pre-spring-craziness date that would work for all of us and booked an Airbnb 44th-floor corner apartment with FABULOUS views of Chicago, including Marina City and Sears Tower, and within walking distance of everyplace we'd want to be. (I know it's not called that anymore, but I can never remember... Sears Tower it will always be to me.)

Two weeks ago tomorrow, we hit the road and pointed south. Arriving just after noon, we parked the car and headed off for lunch at The Purple Pig. There's only one time since we first discovered that restaurant that we haven't eaten there -- we love it, and it's definitely a treat!


The weather was fantastic!

We checked into our apartment after lunch and then hit a couple of shopping spots that the girls like -- Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, etc. We stopped at Eataly on the way home and stocked up on meats, cheeses, bread, olives and beverages, and had a relaxing night in on Friday night. We've watched (and anticipated) Eataly in Chicago for a while now and it did not disappoint. Next time, we'll definitely have a meal there! Shopping was a real treat with so many terrific choices.



Selfie City @ Cloudgate!

On Saturday morning, we walked through Millennium Park on our way to the Art Institute of Chicago. One of the big draws at AIC was the Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibit (and not just us, the exhibit is drawing record-setting crowds!).


There was a lot to see, and I'm sure we didn't see half of it.


It was fascinating (if a bit crowded) to see the paintings together, of course. Ali posted the comparison, above, on Instagram; and there was a great video as part of the exhibit that zoomed in to the same place on each painting at once to closely compare the differences in each. Those paintings are "all the same" and yet so very, very different.


Apparently Vincent kept a small red lacquered box full of wool (replica, above) that he used to play around with color while he worked.


We were also very excited to see The New Contemporary.



It's a wonderful exhibit! I was apparently quite focused on color and texture as presented by Mark Rothko, Joan Snyder, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg (sock!). Ha.

Kate also wrote about our visit to AIC on the Young Space blog, if you're interested. (And more pictures!)


See? Beautiful weather!!


We lunched and shopped our way back to the apartment, then walked to Cantina Laredo for a lovely dinner. There was a selection of menus in the apartment's welcome binder and this one had a 5-star rating, so we decided to give it a try. It was delicious, and we loved the guacamole made table-side.

We had a fun stop at IKEA on Sunday as we made our way home, including lunch for the first time ever -- Swedish meatballs! Kate's Subie was packed to the gills.

Yeah Chicago. 'Til next time...