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#knitkonmari (1)

I gathered all of my cowls, shawls, and scarves the other day and threw them on the bed...

IMG_20160828_090021-web do some sorting.

There's a Purge Pile, a Frog Pile, a Purgatory Pile, and a Keeper Pile.

A few of the Keepers have already been washed and are drying (the ones that are less intensive in terms of blocking). I have had great success using my front-loader's handwash cycle for handknits. The hard part is finding places for drying!

Here's the Frog Pile (so far):


When you look at them this way...


Or this way (ooo, I love this one!)...


It might be hard to see any problems. But problems there are! I don't wear these shawls for one reason or another. I love the yarn, though, and I'd like to knit with it again! Here are the issues:

  • I'd made at least three Baktus scarves using Opal Hundertwasser yarn and had done some riffing, back in the day, with varied success. That orange-purple one, in particular, has a weird shape.


  • I like the Argosy scarf (above), also in Opal Hundertwasser, but would like it better if it were less matchy, just a tad wider, and maybe a bit shorter -- this may be a straight-up re-do with aforementioned mods.


  • Lakedale was knit with yarn I'd dyed at Old Maiden Aunt in Scotland. I want to like it, and I've tried, but I just can't with that super ruffly ruffle.
  • I'd knit a Simply Garter Shawl for my sister in Mountain Colors 4/8's wool. Wrong! The colors are great, but it's so... not right. Also, Sharon didn't like shawls.

Stay tuned for more #knitkonmari adventures... if I can take a break from PRISMA!

Weekending: Making Art

I went to the opening reception for multi-media artist Sara Willadsen's exhibition "Partly Heard Song" at The Draw in Appleton on Friday night; the exhibition runs through September 25th.


Then on Saturday, I attended a workshop entitled "Deconstructed Collage" led by artist Mel Kolstad. I learned a few things four years ago when I took a collage class, and learned a few more things on Saturday morning. And I have some ideas!


I meant to take a few more photos to show how my piece came together, but a bunch of undocumented stuff happened between the photos above and below!


I sacrificed a ca. 1976 baby knitting booklet (blasphemy!) to the materials collection, along with what I'm guessing was a Chinese lesson book -- Rusty and I picked up a couple in San Francisco's Chinatown a few years ago.


That's a table heaped with treasure! Napkins, magazines, labels, stamps, sewing patterns, an Italian newspaper, an old will, old prescription labels, invoices, ledgers, handwritten letters... so much wonderful stuff!


Here's how mine ended up. It's 6" square. "Always use new and fresh yarn."


The work space at Standard Projects is to die for. Lots of space, beautiful light -- and so much more -- housed in the former Hortonville Police Station which was built in 1952.


This is Kate's piece; larger than mine, it's 8" square. So much to love. There's a part at top left, beneath the upside-down stag, that's a rubbing from the fire door between the work space and the garage at Standard Projects. Also BINGO!


Kristi also used some rubbings from the door... and got caught up in a story.


I really love the layering/weaving in Claire's piece.


These two pieces are Mel's. She made the top one with us in class, and the bottom one was one of the very many things she made during her week-long residency at Standard Projects.

After the workshop, Katie and I found a place for lunch and then stopped at one of the larger thrift stores in the area. I haven't been in the acquiring mood lately, but a thrift store is the perfect place to look for collage materials! I bought an old pattern for $.12, and a biology book for $1. And also:


A "Sunny Book" for Rusty... even though I was a little bit exasperated with him all weekend! This was too cute to pass up.

Bright spot

You know how sometimes you know something "bad" is coming and you brace yourself for the worst but it ends up not being not all that bad?


A week ago last Tuesday, on Aug. 16th, the street in front of Ali's coffee shop was closed. Sewer & water line replacement means that the street will be closed/no thru-traffic for a total of 6-8 weeks.

So far, the weather has been pretty good and they seem to be moving right along. The sidewalks remain open, and the workers have been very good about keeping a public crosswalk in the middle of the block open as much as possible.


It's dusty and dirty, but sometimes fascinating to watch. They've even dug up some treasures, including ties & rails from an old trolley system!

The most amazing thing, though (and, believe me, I'm knocking on wood), is that the impact on Ali's business hasn't been too bad. In fact, that first day, she had to deal with some not-so-good customer feedback because they were SO INCREDIBLY BUSY at lunchtime that a couple of orders got messed up. Even Rusty, whose studio is upstairs (so he's there a lot), commented on how busy they were and that people were lined up out the door!

There have been some not-stellar days, and there'll probably be more, but mostly it's been OK. She's been working for a while now on a plan for a big remodel and improvements to her kitchen -- the pieces are finally coming together -- and if nothing else, I think this shows that her business is worth the investment!

It's just so damn cool. It makes me so proud of my little city and its residents, so grateful for all of Ali's wonderful and loyal customers, and pleased as punch that she's built a business that's seemingly worth a little extra effort.

Seriously, there's a panzanella salad on the menu right now... SO WORTH IT. I could eat it everyday! It's especially delicious when Adam's making it and on his way out to the deck garden, he asks if purple or green basil is preferred. Mmmm.

Right now: August is waning

Anticipating... one more overseas departure. Maddy will be heading to New Zealand next month for a 9-month live/work adventure... emphasis on living, playing, and doing! I am so excited for her.

Itching... (still) to clean up my workroom and make progress on something... anything!

Knitting... I finished re-knitting the sleeves of Gin's Elwood sweater and they are so much better! Attention will now turn to LOLA.

Kvetching... about car/engine repairs. Bleh.

Looking forward to... Deconstructed Collage Workshop on Saturday morning. Artist Mel Kolstad will be just finishing a week-long residency at Standard Projects -- it's been fun to follow along. She is refreshed, renewed, inspired, and it ought to be a fun workshop.

Planning... a bit of travel myself. Not yet to Spain, nor to New Zealand (sadly, I doubt I'll make it to NZ at all due to time and expense... mostly time). It'll be a bit closer to home -- familiar, comfortable, restorative. More later.

Reading... I'm still reading (closing in on) All The Light We Cannot See.

I haven't had a chance yet to choose a new Audible book. I must make time for that this afternoon.

2016 BOTNS BBHere is my BINGO progress so far -- not much has changed since last time! I highly doubt I'll get a BINGO by Labor Day... so I'm shooting for Thanksgiving. (My card, my rules.)


Sewing (mending)... I finally did a little Sashiko stitching! I'd recently re-over-dyed a couple pairs of Rusty's faded shorts to a much darker indigo and discovered a couple of small holes -- it seemed like a nice sized repair to begin with. It was cool to unfold the hank of thread, cut it, braid it, and draw out my working thread. My patching & stitching could have been better; because it's so small, I might call a re-do!

Watching... We recorded and watched some of the Olympics. It was fun for me to see a few familiar glimpses of Rio -- Copacabana, Ipanema, Dois Irmaos, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Selaron Steps -- including a little ad-segment about Cafeina! I deleted plenty of unwatched episodes on Monday, though... I'm just never gonna watch those now that it's over.

We've currently queued up STRANGER THINGS and it's as amazing as all those friends' posts on FB have recently led me to believe!

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?

Weekends, Farewells, KnitKonMari, and Other Stuff


Weekend-before-last, we were invited to spend some time at a good friend's lake cottage. Annie & I took the boys on Sunday afternoon, and we had just the most wonderful time playing in the sand and water, going for boat and pontoon rides, eating, relaxing...


My nephews made a couple of new friends and, with a week or less 'til departure, it was a great distraction!


Saturday was departure day for my sis.


I drove up to take her to the airport, but not before lots of hugs and kisses... and some photos.


I can't believe how tall those boys are getting!


The boys and their dad had a U-haul to finish packing, then left for Madison. They await their Tuesday departure -- and they have to be beyond excited now that Ann is in Valencia and at their apartment!


I finished up a few projects on Sunday morning that I'd been neglecting these past few weeks, and that felt so good! I carried on and spent some time working on another long-term project, and then took a break for knitting.


I am reworking the sleeves of Gin's little sweater. New sleeve pictured at left, old at right -- there is a VAST and VISIBLE difference in my gauge when switching from straights to DPNs, and it was driving me nuts.


I had every size DPN in my arsenal except for US 9, so ordered a set in Majestic Wood from Knitpicks... and love how they coordinate with the sweater! I also love the pointier tips on those needles, compared to the bamboo I'd been using. 


Though the daylight hours are shrinking, the weather has taken a decided turn for the better, and I'm anxious to get started washing my sweaters and shawls this week with the MDK Washalong.

Also, I can’t fit (stuff) any more shawls into the space where I keep them (a fabric shoe organizer in my closet). They’re not neat and orderly, oft-wrinkled, always falling out, and have begun accumulating in a couple of other areas of the house. I am sometimes having difficulty locating a desired shawl, and find that I am picking shawls up off the closet floor that I haven't worn in years. So, as I wash along, I'll also be doing a little KnitKonMari... applying to sweaters, also, as I haven't worn a pullover in I don't know how long (thanks menopause), and I just don't need the stress of keeping things I no longer use!


It's time to vote, the polls are OPEN: Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick is LIVE!


Are you? Washing along with Mason-Dixon Knitting? Sweater season approaches! I haven't begun yet, but I certainly will. I've a cedar chest to fill!


Last week, after Auntie Camp, we took the boys home... and hauled a trailer along so we could bring a few things back with us. One of those things was a cedar chest.


Immediately after telling me that they're moving to Spain (which, admittedly, I met with stupefied silence), Annie blurted that I could have Grandma's cedar chest... FOR KEEPS!


There's no contest, really... given a choice I'd much rather have my sister around than a cedar chest!

(But I did want a cedar chest and, in fact, have actively looked for one. They are elusive!)


I "had it" when they were in Brazil... plump full of their stuff! Now it's empty, and it's mine... for keeps.


I think it would be a good idea to wash (and mend) all of my sweaters (and shawls) before moving them to the cedar chest, don't you?


My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, were married in Rozellville, WI, in July 1929. It's possible that the cedar chest was my grandmother's hope chest (I'll have to see if my aunts know). If it wasn't, then I think it was given as a wedding gift. There are some similar design elements on their dining room set, and that I know was a wedding gift. I am intimately familiar with all of those dust-catching design elements, as many hours of my childhood were (unwillingly) devoted to dusting those pieces!


My sister leaves for Spain a week from tomorrow, and the boys a few days later. "Crazy" doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on: cleaning out, donating, selling, storing, deciding. Does it get packed? Does it stay? Does it go?

Add in the simultaneous family farewells and at least one trip to the consulate in Chicago! Cray-cray!


Meanwhile, Addy had a birthday last Monday! He was worried that it would be forgotten. No flippin' way! They happened to be on their way home from Madison that day, so we made plans for dinner. I set up a taco bar, which the kids loved. And baked a cake. Addy requested chocolate, so chocolate it was... one of the chocolate-iest cakes I've ever made. Seriously, the frosting looked like tar! It was so awesome. (Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is the secret ingredient -- recipe on the container. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it about :10 longer than specified. It was perfect.)


This is 9 years + 1 hour. I'm not sure what the broom was about... something to do with Jün, though, I'm sure.


We'd had another Aunty Camp scheduled for later in August, and the boys were both very concerned that it wouldn't happen at all. I was able to arrange my schedule a little bit, though, so they stayed overnight on Monday and we had "camp" on Tuesday morning!

We did "tie-dye" with Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol.


From the top: Mack's, Addy's, and a onesie that I made for Gin.

I wasn't intending for indigo dyeing to be part of this camp session, but the boys really wanted to do it. I had just enough time to mix up a quick 5-gallon vat while the t-shirts spun around in a hot dryer to set the ink.


And then threw them into the washer on "quick cycle." They are wet, above, and the color a bit intense because of it.


In a perfect world, I'd have let that ink set a bit longer -- or maybe set it with an iron -- because it did fade some in the washer. It's still pretty cool, though! And the boys were so happy.


Detail of Addy's marker designs. He wasn't happy with how his name was working with the marker, but it turned out to be a wonderful element of the design!!


They also tie-dyed a shirt for Jün!

I had previously done an experimental project on my own to get a feel for the Sharpie thing... and it turned out pretty hideous!


Thankfully, indigo to the rescue!!


There's already been some discussion about the next Aunty Camp! Who knows, maybe it'll be in Valencia! Based on discussion, it appears that indigo is an integral part of Aunty Camp, so I reassured the boys that we could do that anywhere! And they also request the return of knitting. LOVE!


Fast and Fabulous!


Nine and Eleven!
(I can hardly believe that.)

At our house

This is the scene, more or less, at our house lately.


And down the street.


Around the whole neighborhood, really, and even beyond. Some of the kids are having fun with it, anyway. It's all getting a bit tiresome, but that's nothing compared to what's foreshadowed by all this work. Ugh.


They didn't dig up my Japanese fern... but it looks like *I* probably should have. Hanging in there so far.

Yeah. Me, too. Hanging in there so far...

Ten on Tuesday Update: Summer Bucket List

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My Summer Bucket List

Originally posted in June, let's see how's it going, shall we?

This summer, I want to:



1 -- Play with Junah -- CHECK!
                Trains and water play are the favorites!


2 -- Cuddle with Gin -- CHECK!
                Lots and lots. She's 3 months old today!! She's so happy and loves to smile, and to watch her big brother!


3 -- Get a BINGO! -- not yet.
                I'm not sure whether it'll actually happen, but I've enjoyed some pretty great books while trying. I'm currently listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and loving it, and turning the pages of All The Light We Cannot See, which I am also enjoying. I'm at around the half-way mark of both books.

4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me) -- CHECK! (and working on it)!
                Tops instead of dresses, though I do have a dress in my sights for Gin.


5 -- Take a day trip to Door County -- not yet.
                But we did take a day trip to the northwoods last week, and had lunch at Little Bohemia!


6 -- Stitch on my Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic -- CHECK!
                I'm not setting the world on fire, but I've been stitching now and then.

7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl -- not yet.


8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!) -- CHECK!
                I fell behind and didn't finish while it was still a mystery, but I didn't peek until the end, so it was still a mystery to me; and I finished in time to post in the Ravelry thread by the deadline for prizes. It felt good to meet a deadline!

9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering -- working on it.
                This was my project du jour at the last knit night, though, so a little progress has been made. I think it'll be my go-to project every knit night!

10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too. -- not yet.
                If it happens, it won't likely be with the nephews... they'll be off to Spain in 3-4 short weeks and there's lots to do!


Meanwhile, I've also...

  • Attended two weddings as a guest and another as second photographer
  • Photographed an engagement session for a wedding coming up next month
  • Spent every Saturday morning since July 2nd at the farmer market or otherwise assisting
  • Had a nice 5-day get-away to the far north with kids & kiddos
  • Been more diligently working with Kate on menu planning and cooking
  • Come to grips with my sister's upcoming departure
  • Began weekly-ish mowing of Mom's lawn again while my stepdad is out of the country
  • Kept up with the laundry
  • Even occasionally swished the toilet bowl