So, Friday night's cooking class with Marcus Samuelsson was great, but what a pace! Even with a few strategic interruptions & questions, I'd never have gotten food on the table without Kate's help! She shopped and prepped -- everything mis en place -- and mixed drinks... I'd never have kept up myself! The food was delicious... a collards & radicchio salad with vinaigrette, and tamarind-glazed halibut served over Carolina Gold grits. Mmm.
Saturday was low-key. It was a lovely day for a walk... and also for a nap. Feeling like I deserved the nap that I couldn't take on Thursday, I didn't set a timer like I usually do, and slept for a little over two hours.
Early Sunday afternoon, we had a scheduled disruption with our Airbnb guests -- long-term guests that have been here since just after Christmas (originally for not so long, but they've extended a couple of times). I'd ordered a new couch & scheduled delivery before I knew they were extending their stay, and Kate also needed to get some things from storage up there prior to & readying for her UK move. It didn't take long, and I sent them a couple of gift certificates for the trouble.
Just as we were finishing upstairs, Ali & the kids came over. I'd made cupcakes in the morning & we had a few presents for a low-key birthday celebration for Malina -- she'll be THREE on Thursday!
It was another nice day, even if not as sunny, and Rusty took the three big kids for a hike down along the creek (Ginny got wet).
When they returned, Junah wanted to go into "the woods" (our ravine).
Pretty soon, everyone was down there, and Kate & Ali were helping the kids make a fort, gathering & using downed trees & limbs (of which there are plenty).
I watched from the windows, at first, because this guy was napping. When he woke up, I bundled him up (it was breezy) and we watched from a comfy seat in the back yard. (He's working on Tooth #2!)
Soon enough, I was down the ravine myself, and ushered inside the fort by the general contractor (instigator) himself to share a (log) seat!
This was the view from inside (a little panorama).
I'll see their fort everyday when I open the bedroom blinds or look out back from the Garden Room!
Meanwhile, evenings have been spent crocheting and watching TV. We've recently discovered BILLIONS (fabulous cast!), and we're loving it.
I've made enough progress that my blanket can actually serve... to a degree, anyway (coverage is not complete). Haha.
I am delighted to have been administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday morning, but holy hell, Thursday was awful! Somehow, I stuck it out all day at work but felt like I never quite woke up. I took a snooze on the couch when I got home, went to bed early, and slept soundly, so I'm feeling much better today. I'll have to take the day after the second dose off of work, or at least have it optional. I had slight soreness at the injection site and had chills a few times, otherwise OK except totally out of it all day. Heh.
Also on Wednesday, I celebrated 16 years of the QUIT! That almost 117,000 cigarettes that I have not consumed, and loosely in the area of $30,000-37,000 saved, plus other health benefits.
That's so crazy!
I actually felt fine all day on Wednesday, and made corned beef (in the Instant Pot) for St. Paddy's Day, and Colcannon for the first time... definitely not the last, but it's only going to be a once-a-year thing with all that butter & cream. (It was SO good!)
If Wednesday couldn't have been any better, Kate also received her UK Visa! She has a 90-day window from mid-April to travel, and hopefully things will continue to improve in regard to Covid and travel/quarantine restrictions between now and then-ish.
Photo from last year, when the Garden Room was still small. Haha.
Spring begins tomorrow, and it's 17 years ago tomorrow that I published my first KNITORIOUS blog post!
That is also crazy.
We're in for some good weather & sunshine this weekend -- 60F on Sunday! I hope it'll be nice in your neck of the woods, too. Have a great weekend!
BREAKING NEWS: Jab #1 is scheduled for this Wednesday!!*
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I was enjoying daylight in the early morning! Now it's dark again when I get up and the sun doesn't even rise until I'm already at work. We're gaining daylight hours at a pretty good clip right now, so hopefully it won't be long before I'm enjoying early morning light again.
Kate & I spotted almost a dozen deer in a couple of groupings while taking a walk on Saturday at nearby Heckrodt Wetland Reserve. We were all there last weekend, too, and saw an owl! Much of the path there is boardwalk, but not all... last week it was wet & icy, this week it was even wetter, so we stuck to the wood.
I noticed some emerging tulips in the back yard yesterday, and it made me positively giddy! This little clump is very close to the foundation of the house on the south side, so it gets nice and warm. Not much of note happening out there otherwise. We did get most of the outside Christmas decorations taken down, and I noticed that happening a lot around town.
I put my head down and did some prep for our taxes over the weekend. I wasn't very organized this year. Haha. That's really not a change, but different this year is that I was downright neglectful and let even the most basic tasks slide.
Crochet continues, and there are almost two more rows ready to join! These colors made me smile, remembering that red & blue were the colors that I'd use in coloring books to color in every princess dress.
My Alabama Chanin project took a breather for a couple of days, but finally yesterday I basted the other back piece.
Ready to go!
In news from around the globe:
Australia: Maddy is very happy with this new item!
Peru: With our time changing and theirs not, our clocks now jive (at least until fall)!
*Rusty has been subbing quite a bit at our local high school and was able to get on the list there... he awaits Jab #2 next week!
It's Friday, it's sunny, Spring is springing... even though I see no visible signs of that (other than melting snow), I know it's happening! I'm not a fan of "springing forward," and having to change my clocks, but it sure has a nice ring, doesn't it?
I have my own little spring:
Amaryllis! I'm not seeing any flower buds yet, but it's still early. Green onions! I don't really care that much for green onions, but Rusty loves them, and I've heard blips about growing your own from scraps for ages, and finally decided to do it when Chef BB mentioned it during cooking class last weekend.
Speaking of cooking classes, I've signed up for yet another, having been sorely tempted by a class by Chef Marcus Samuelsson featuring recipes from his newest cookbook...
...The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, which Kate actually gave me back in November for my birthday, and she encouraged me to do it (she'll join me, too). It's a little intimidating to think of actually cooking along with a renowned superstar chef, and also, WOW, I can cook along with a renowned superstar chef!!
There's barely a post these days without a crochet update:
The motifs for Row 6 are underway!
I took a weird series of blurry photos this morning as I went outside to photo the blanket on the sidewalk -- my leg, my shoe, and two of the blanket. I liked this one!
I have other needlework to catch up on, plus taxes are beckoning... well, not exactly beckoning as in "seem to be appealing and inviting," but I sure would like to get that off my desk. I got a little start last week, and had a meeting with Ali's accountant last night, which went better than any before and I only had a couple of things to send her this morning (instead of a long list of homework)... so that's encouraging.
We shall see. Progress will be made in one area or another over the weekend!
Finally, in a recent effort to confuse/trick a neighbor boy, Ginny "dressed like Junah"!
Annie & I took another online cooking class on Saturday. This time it was "Online Thai Tonight," by Sur La Table. I learned about their cooking classes from Kym, who went on an exploration after reading about our Pisco Sour adventure, and the class that we took from the New Orleans School of Cooking. I love the way this community works!
One of our recipes was for Fresh Rolls with Poached Shrimp (or Spring Rolls, as we call them) and Coconut-Peanut Dipping Sauce (a lot of Peanut Sauce). These were actually Sunday lunch, made fresh for me by Kate. In class, we also made Stir-Fried Wide Rice Noodles with Beef. We enjoyed it so much, and the food was so good, that we've signed up for Chef BB's "Authentic Fried Chicken & Sides" later in the month. Both of us were drawn in when Chef said that it was her class for Women's History Month... and that this was her women's history!
Yesterday, for International Women's Day, I accompanied my eldest to Milwaukee where she needed to get her biometrics done in order to complete & send in her visa app for moving to the UK -- specifically, Scotland -- so that she can continue to carve out & pursue the life & career that she desires. You may recall that this move was on the table a while back, then off, then a bunch of other things were proposed/considered, and it swung back around to Scotland again. It's where she really wants to be, and she* came up with a more economical way to do it (housing-wise, mostly) (one of the biggest barriers), at least initially. It looks like she'll be heading over in 6-8 weeks on a 3-year visa.
I thought a lot about my "international" women -- Ann in Peru (formerly of Spain & Brazil), Maddy in Australia, Kate soon to be in Scotland, Ali here in Wisconsin -- celebrating all that they've already achieved for themselves, and the new pursuits that they explore... and how they all continue to inspire.
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In other not-so-new news, I continue to crochet.
Oh boy. While waiting in the car for Kate yesterday, I worked on joining a hexagon to the blanket and ended up having to fudge -- too many stitches were left after working all the repeats. Y'know, crochet is not my "natural" craft... I'm feeling more comfortable with it, but it still feels quite awkward, and I certainly can't "read" it like I can knitting. Anyway, it dawned on me after I cut my yarn, that perhaps my count was off -- which would surprise me because I feel like I'm counting all.the.time -- but, sure enough, there were 13 repeats in that particular motif instead of 12.
Aaannnnndddd... turns out, that was not an isolated incident. Haha!
Also, continuing with the random/unplanned design of this project, I am joining the fifth row from left-to-right instead of right-to-left as I've done all the others -- and as I intended to do and THOUGHT that I was doing (though I knew there was something "different").
Guess what? I'm not re-doing any of it. I love this darn thing, warts and all.
The print, specifically -- because "That Is Not My Dress" -- but everything about this! The whole vibe of this photo is bonkers. Gucci. Ken Scott. Elle Fanning. Yellow tights. Amazing shoes (those aren't my shoes these days, either). The "Fashion Gardener" even put pansies in that print... so tempting... but the least expensive item in that line is a "neck bow," and, um... no.
Florals are definitely a thing right now. Oscar de la Renta has some fabulous, colorful florals in the Fall 2021 Collection (link to TLO) (I would wear those pants!), and also CROCHET!
I am here for all of it!! I have a gigantic scale floral print that I purchased on Spoonflower a couple of years ago and I think it's finally going to be something (with pockets).
Then, this morning, I accidentally took a screen shot of my phone and noticed the icon for the Prism app, which I love but haven't used in ages, so...
...sorry/not sorry for the photo dump!
Spring is in the air. The sky is light when I wake up (though there'll be a little setback next weekend), the temp is rising and the snow is melting.
I'm looking ahead. Happy Weekend!
Also, Rusty got his first jab on Wednesday!
Edited to add: It's VIRTUAL ART IN BLOOM time at the Saint Louis Art Museum! There are free, on-demand programs available all month.
It was a long weekend for me, with Monday off this week... that always means a lot to share!
We got outta Dodge on Saturday, and drove down to Sheboygan to visit the Art Preserve | John Michael Kohler Art Center -- technically, as Beta Testers! We reserved an early time slot and practiced physical distancing, and really, museum-goers are pretty good at that in general! The museum doesn't officially open until late June, and it's still a work in progress -- also no photography allowed right now -- but it's AMAZING!
The last museum I visited was the Black Mountain College Museum, over a year ago. sigh
It was a gorgeous day and we were hungry by the time we finished, so found ourselves a nearby Culvers and ATE AT OUTSIDE TABLES! It was sunny and warm, and only occasionally a little chilly when the breeze picked up, but otherwise... IT WAS SO NICE!! We got some looks from folks in the drive-thru, but enticed another couple from inside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I can't tell you how wonderful it was.
I discovered that my amaryllis are sprouting again.
I bought them in St. Louis in 2018, so this is the third time!
I took photos of my Alabama Chanin project on Sunday:
This piece is SO CLOSE to done. I didn't work on it yesterday (you'll see why in a minute), but surely the other side will be underway in the next day or two!
Last night, I used up all of the circles I had finished to complete the third row of JAYGO hexagons.
I can't even express how happy I am about the way this is coming together. Work at the circle factory will resume this evening. I'm also feeling the itch to knit -- it seems like I haven't knit a stitch in ages -- so might begin one of those Safe at Home pillows that I've been blabbing about.
Embroidery continues, too, another few stitches on the Bingo card. Kate's really into it, and I'll have to share a couple of the other pieces she's done/doing.
She spent quite a bit of time over the weekend untangling, sorting, and winding floss acquired from various sources. So satisfying.
That brings us to yesterday -- with kids! We had about an hour with just the girls, and then the boys came over, too.
Ginny & I put together a new puzzle -- 100 pieces, Children of the World. And then there was a ton of fun with Ninja Turtles, and a little bit with K'nex.
Also, Junah helped me put together a new end table. He was all over the assembly of things when Ali returned after our recent IKEA trip, and I decided to save this little project for him. It just makes my heart sing to see him figure it all out and, again, I was a mere helping hand!
Davy is drooling like mad... he'll be six months old in a couple of weeks!
Malina changed clothes at least three times. I found that little slap-on dragon bracelet on my Target run and picked one of up for each of the girls -- they were a BIG hit! (Velcro wrist rattles for Davy... that just barely fit on his chubby wrists! and a LEGO mini-figure for Jün.)
There were two chairs in yesterday's post -- one in the USA and one in Australia -- it was the SAME PILLOW pictured on each chair! I was struck by how similar our chairs were and that Maddy & I took similar photos!*
I've made only one pillow, SO FAR, but that will change as I will be making a Safe at Home pillow for Kate, for Ali, for Annie and, yes, for myself, too! I already have the inserts. The pillows are pretty quick to knit, there's a lot of room for improv, and it's an excellent, bite-size way to make something with that great design... which I've nominated for the upcoming MDK Pattern Party.
FEBRUARY! It was not the usual slog, at least around here. I had a few projects to keep me busy -- fun and each only taking a few minutes each day -- and I think that helped! I'm amazed that Monday will be the 1st of March!
The 100 Day Project
I'm happy with my progress, and this will continue into May.
I kept up with this daily... until someone won Bingo! Now I'm not so diligent about getting the stitches done in a timely manner, but have been keeping up for the most part. I think "Long & Short" and "Turkey Work" are the only ones that actually put me behind at the moment. It's been really fun to do since Kate joined in, too, and she's even continued with her own freestyle embroidery exploration, for which I've pulled out my embroidery books for her perusal.
The Fiberuary Challenge
The Fiberuary Challenge is a month of fibery fun & love, Instagram style, created a couple of years ago by Creative Ceci. There's a prompt for each day, but no pressure to participate. I've discovered some new people (near & far), and just really had a lot of fun with it!
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* Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised? The Fiberuary prompt for Day 18 was "YARN." I wrote that I like knitting it, crocheting it, sniffing it, squishing it, buying it, sorting it, dyeing it. Maddy commented on the post:
Sniffing it and squishing it! 😂😂 I love you! I read this out to Viv and she goes to me, "It's easy to see why you are the way you are." Thanks Mom. ❤️
I finally shipped Maddy & Viv's Christmas (+) parcel via DHL last Friday! I was going to do it around Thanksgiving, but was waiting on a few things, and then the news about shippers being overwhelmed and packages piling up or lost, so I decided to postpone.
We expected it would take at least a month, but that parcel left here on Friday and was on a plane from Milwaukee on Saturday, headed first to Cincinnati and then to Los Angeles, and was in Sydney by Sunday, and on Monday was making its way to the girls in New South Wales!! I mean, you would die if you know what I paid for shipping, but at least there was some measure of "service."
Maddy sent me this photo this morning:
The "Safe at Home" pillow that I made for them is Safe in Oz!
I sent this in return:
Twinsies! There were a couple of knit cowls from Kate, some Drink Wisconsibly can coozies, cards & notes... and a credit card (as was due to expire).
Meanwhile, I'd similarly sent new credit cards to Ann & Brian in Peru that day and apparently they need to pay some sort of tax before the shipment will be released. It sounds more like ransom to me!
Well, y'all know what I'm crocheting. I added a few more motifs to the second row last night.
It's way too early to be thinking about this, but I think I'm going to want a border around the whole thing. I have done ZERO research, but if any of you have any suggestions for what kind of crochet stitch makes a good border, I'm all ears.
I didn't consider what difference the shape would make until I started joining the second row last night... THE SECOND ROW!! I'm so happy. It'll be a simple adjustment (knit fewer hexies or add another row... TBD!).
Meanwhile, it's sunny with a high of 41°F today, snow is melting, birds are chirping, and I can't help but feel a little hopeful.
I did a fair bit of stitching on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket over the weekend. Prompted by the photo I posted a couple of weeks ago of the wrong side of the back piece I'm working on, I went on a hunt to find the last one I'd taken...
I hardly worked on that project at all in 2020! Not only were we slammed with the overall weirdness of Covid, but Ali had just moved into a new house at the end of 2019, learned that she was pregnant, and had a business to keep afloat (an endeavour that wasn't mine, but I did numerous things to help). Kate & I bought Ducky and that renovation kept me busy. I had an epic baby blanket to knit! And other stuff.
Anyway, it looks like the last snap of the back I took was at Kym's in October 2019 when I drove to Michigan for our Mini AC Weekend!
I like to photo the back because the stitches are so much more obvious. Here's the same thing as of yesterday afternoon:
And here's the front:
The top image is from April 7th, and the bottom is yesterday.
I couldn't resist putting it together with a sleeve:
The end is really nowhere in sight -- there is so much left to do -- but this is really motivating! This piece is more than 2/3 done -- I've finished stitching the two top sections, and have a good start on the bottom. I'm confident that the other pieces will go a little bit quicker and I'm excited to baste the layers together for the other back piece... SOON!!
I also started making my crocheted circles into hexagons and joining them together.
I'm working from the bottom, so that's the bottom row -- just over half the width (it'll be 15 hexies wide x 21 hexies tall) (I think). I made progress since taking that photo, and have only two more hexies to work before starting the next row. I've been working the circles in order and slipping them onto stitch holders, but I could only find two, so you can see the third row stacking up in the top photo. I need a little more order, organization & control than that, so was happy for the weekend and time to work out the JAYGO method again. I'm super clumsy and some of this pretty sketchy, but oh... it makes me so happy. The colors & combos are wild, technically they shouldn't all work together, and yet... .
Embroidery Bingo is genius! It's so fun & quick to do... and it's contagious! Kate decided to join in, and I just happened to already have another "card" drawn up that she could use; she just had to draw in the stitches that she wanted to do.
Here she's working on the "fishbone" stitch, and she's done a lot more since then (Saturday) -- a few more stitches, some extracurriculars on the side, and borders! The girls used to watch me cross stitch back in the day, always wanting to "sew," too, so she's no stranger to any of this.
Here's my card as of Saturday. I didn't have either of the stitches called yesterday or today, so it hasn't changed.
I needed to choose 24 out of 30 available stitches for my card, and deliberately chose ones that were less known or unfamiliar to me. I'd never even heard of fishbone before and it is so cool! I hope to find a few stitches that I can incorporate into my Alabama Chanin project(s).
In my stead, Rusty went to an estate sale on Friday; the combined estate of our friend Margaret, who died a few years ago, and her sister Florence who died a couple of months ago. Florence was 96 and spent all but her last few days in their home -- the home that they grew up in! Margaret was an artist, which is how we all became acquainted, but she also worked with needles of various types over the years, and we forged an additional bond in over knitting. Some time ago, she gave me some of her spectacular Vogue Knitting Magazines from the 50s & 60s.
I'd hoped that perhaps there'd be some more of that type of thing at the sale, and some knitting needles, but there weren't, and the yarn wasn't anything I was interested in. There was a bag full of embroidery stuff, though, so I asked Rusty to bring that home. There were a few projects underway, and lots of floss. I was amused at the range of prices I found on the floss bands; today a skein of that floss sells for around 45¢. Anyway, I used some of their floss for my fishbone stitch, and I'm sure I'll use more.
I did a bit of beading over the weekend and some more applique on my Car Jacket.
And I've been following my granny square layout to do crochet. I had done a lot of willy-nilly circles, but now I'm following a plan and will soon have enough to join together the first row!
I had a lovely 3-day weekend, with Monday off. It was that perfect blend of getting things done without the days disappearing in a flash. I don't know how/why that seems to happen sometimes, but it was just so great to finish a task and still have plenty of "time on the clock."
Kate took my big hint on Friday and started to take down the tree. She stopped when she got to the part where "I know certain things go in certain boxes," so I finished up on Saturday morning.
I always love the "tetris" part of the putting away! This was by far the longest I've ever had my tree up. Whew! Glad it's down, and so grateful for Kate's help.
On Saturday, Ali dropped Ginny off for a "Date with Kate" on her way to grocery shop -- which mainly consisted of Kate & Gin driving up to Green Bay to pick up an order at Michael's and a drive-thru/parking lot snack at McDonald's (such are the times), and then dropping Ginny off at home on the way back.
Junah happened to be with Ali, so I offered to have him stay with me while Al did her shopping.
We played with K'nex -- well, he played while I was tasked to helping count out some of the pieces -- and he built a motorized fan. He was so chuffed: "Oh my god, it really is turning!"
And then we got out the train set that had been set up once or twice around the Christmas tree and he played with that for a while... with room to spread out and not worry about Malina or Ginny bumping into the track while dancing or whatever.
And then we watched a little TV: Snoopy In Space! (He just loves Charlie Brown & the gang.) He had me sit right next to him on the couch, arms linked... "This is so cozy!"
Plotz. One-on-one time is so nice! Can't wait 'til next time with a different kid.
On Sunday, we finally put up the curtain rods in The Garden Room. I had all the stuff we needed since a few weeks before Christmas and then... early holiday hoopla followed by Covid followed by no energy. I finally felt up to facing the task!
Because it's really nice to have sunshine streaming into that room, unless you're in there trying to do something while the sunshine is streaming in! Seriously, sunglasses are needed! There'll be easily arranged light-filtering curtains along the east side (to Rusty's left) and on the two large windows that he's facing. That should help a lot. Those other two windows are "original" and we've never had
That's some specialized curtain rod hardware for the corner -- adjustable and mostly used for bay windows, I guess.
I was motivated & energized enough to do a little clean up and rearranging in there!
Meanwhile, I've been stitching away on my 100 Day Project, missing only one day so far when the kids were over and I was tuckered.
Since I took this photo on Sunday, I got a lot of beading done on the lower third. Feel like I'm getting my groove back.
I'm also playing Embroidery Bingo on IG with Jessica Long Embroidery! Cara posted about this in her IG Stories late last week with an invitation to join her. I needed another Thing in my life like a whole in the head, but y'know... it takes no time at all and I'll learn some things! I have no idea how to do Turkey Work or Oyster stitch, for starters. Bingo started on Monday and today is the first day that my stitch wasn't called.
We had some snow yesterday. View to the east from the Garden Room. (This is photo is "as shot" in full color.)
Not as much as some of y'all in the East, but it snowed all day and it was heavy, wet, and very sticky. Our wooded ravine was a wonderland -- this photo captures only a tiny fraction of that (even in wide-angle)!
Anyway, it's February... notoriously cold, gray, and seemingly the longest month of the year, even though it's technically the shortest. My world has been pretty colorful lately (on purpose), at least as far as my knitting/crochet projects go, but I had a reminder the other day that it's sometimes good to take a look at those things in black & white because, especially, shades of gray.
While I was prepping my Safe At Home post for IG yesterday, I accidentally swiped and... I don't really know how these things happen... and voila, black & white.
Every once in a while, Cara posts a reminder to take a look in black & white because you can more easily see the VALUE of those colors and how they work together. Admittedly, I did not do that with Safe At Home, so I was very happy to see that there was pretty good balance overall. There are a few places where the windows and/or door fade right into the house or the stripes are a big glob of light, medium, or dark, or you can't tell the roof from the sky, but it's all pretty well distributed throughout.
Anyway, it prompted me to look at some current projects in a similar way.
These are the circles from yesterday. (BTW, the little circles will all eventually have a few more rounds in another color, just like the ones above them, and then they'll all have another round or two in natural to make them into hexagons, and then I'll use a JAYGO technique to Join As You Go!)
Anyway, isn't that interesting?? That gray & gold circle at top right was a little surprising, and I'd have thought there'd be more contrast in the blue & yellow one at bottom left. I love that some of the tiny circles are of mixed value... especially that green one at the right.
Here's the value of the box of yarn from yesterday's post:
I got a new craft bin in which to store that project, wound up the rest of the yarn, culled some of the repeats (either super similar or same color/different dye lot), added the neons back in (because, let's just see...).
The goal was light, medium, dark starting from the bottom. I rearranged, took a photo, looked in b&w/monochrome; rearranged, took a photo, looked; rinse & repeat... I took a crazy number of photos! And I see that I could still make adjustments (until the cows come home). The discerning eye will spot the "dark value sequins" atop a "light value yarn." Haha. This is a multi-craftual household.
Here's that image in full color!
The next thing I'm going to do is another thing I just learned from Cara (who learned from another) is to enter all these colors/values into the Granny Squares Color Pattern Generator, along with some info about my pattern, and have a nicely balanced random plan generated for me!! That will take a little planning and screen time, but I think it will be well worth it! And there's a 3-day weekend on tap. Yahoo!
Best laid plans, y'all! I had errands to run yesterday morming morning and kids coming over (yay!) in the early afternoon. I tried to get this written & posted in between but I barely got started before I ran out of time. And then I ran out of energy.
I laughed when I read Kym's posttoday yesterday, because boy oh boy, have I done that!! More than once, in fact, and because of it I am drowning in mini-skeins! Actually, let's just say that I'm swimming in them... because I'm okay with the situation!
Unicorn tails! I had a few, and then I bought a "pandemic" bunch, and then I bought a "pandemic" few more. I've always loved the saturated color, some of which actually seem to glow, even if a single-ply yarn can sometimes cause problems. (We shall see.)
I'm making a little progress... sort of just winging it right now as I try to figure out a direction of sorts.
LOVING IT!!! I am living for color these days...
...and, apparently, especially when it glows! This is our kitchen bouquet in yesterday morning's sunshine. (Today, it's gray and snowing.)
Yesterday was the official beginning of The 100 Day Project...
...and that will take us solidly into MAY!! Doesn't that sound wonderful? I'll be posting most of my updates on IG (I am @vicki.knitorious), but won't be able to resist sharing here now & then, too.
I spent yesterday morning getting my workspace somewhat cleared and set the scene.
Background in a nutshell: This is my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket, the project I chose in November 2017 when Kym & I attended a 3-Day Workshop at the Alabama Chanin Factory in Florence, Alabama. It wouldn't normally take 3-4 years to finish a project like this, but I sort of went off the deep end with the embellishing. I'm thankful I chose the jacket and not the coat!!
When I left off last May, I was working on the first back piece. I wasn't surprised to find a needle stuck into the fabric on the side, but I was surprised to find that it was threaded and still attached! I don't remember specific circumstances, but I'm thinking that this was put away in haste, though it was all pretty neat and organized. Anyway, here's the big picture:
The top third is done. The middle is about half-done. The bottom has a good start. The middle section got some attention yesterday.
Before & after. I stitched, cut, beaded & appliqued a "flower" (trying something new) and finished beading around the big circle where I'd left off (you can see the needle that I'd left behind in the top photo).
Looking forward to making progress!
My goal is to work on this project for at least :20 each day. It doesn't seem like much, but even on my busiest days, I can carve out 20 minutes, and usually it will be more. Yesterday, I listened to a 40-minute podcast while I did most of the work... and I have quite a few audio books in my queue!
I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm working on, and, because I'm a day late, I'm also joining Carole & friends for (a very loose interpretation of) Three Things on Thursday...
1 -- KNITTING CROCHETING:
Knitting is on hold. I have things percolating, but nothing is moving forward at the moment. Instead...
I picked up one of my crochet projects last night. Remember crochet?? Way back in JULY, while I was also working on Davy's Safe At Home Blanket, I also decided to start crocheting not one, but TWO, blanket-type projects. I even designated Saturday as "Crochet Day," which I think happened on the very next Saturday and then never again. Heh.
I plucked two yarn balls from the basket and reacquainted myself with the process, making some of the same mistakes again! It's all about practice! This is Hexie Love Actually, and I think it's going to be random, but with some "rules"... which I've yet to figure out. And, since I'm the one making the rules, I probably won't use ALL the colors I have of this yarn as originally (loosely) planned... the neons do not bring joy for this project. (I think they might make an awesome something for the kiddos... maybe some trippin' gnomes!)
I still have a few hours of listening to HAMNET, and I'm on the edge of my seat. I am also reading AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY. I don't remember where I heard about that book, but it's an interesting historical non-fiction story that truly "unfolds" through the discovery of an unfinished quilt. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I like that there are lots of pictures!
2 - MORE MENDING:
When I patched the left elbow in this favorite sweater, I wove the patch directly into/onto the sweater... you can see that process here.
For the right elbow, I picked up and knit a stockinette patch, which I then sewed down on the other three sides.
In hindsight, it would have been nice to do some increases along one side of the patch to better "fit" the shape of the sleeve... but it's a patch on a holey old sweater that is in need of some other repairs, likely soon relegated to "house sweater," though I am going to get some public wear out of it yet!
Though the hole was smaller, the new patch is quite a bit bigger than the first -- there was a lot of "thinning" happening!
A close-up of the first patch. I'm happy with how it's held up. Both of these were worked in Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails.
3 -- CUTENESS OVERLOAD:
Kate had a dentist appointment a few days ago that involved novocaine and she sent a hilarious Snapchat to all of us, which, as often happens, started a flood of Snaps amongst us.
I had to grab a screenshot along the way!
And this morning, Ali sent a few photos, including this:
If that is not a doting big sister... and her little brother who is fully aware that he is Living The Life... I don't know what is.
P.S. Ginny is wearing a pair of Hannah Andersson PJs worn by both her mother and her Aunt Maddy, and still going strong! Quality FTW.
My Christmas tree is still up and there's been little movement (or mojo) to make it otherwise. This is by far a record. But we are loving the light!
I snapped a few photos before turning off the lights the other night... it's nothing but a tree of memories, really.
I know I've shown it before, but that pink-striped ornament was my maternal grandma's. You can see wee Ginny & Junah in the shadows! There's the tail-end of a couple of hand-carved fish that my Uncle Jim made. One of two or three bunches of grapes that my mom had.
Hanging nearby, my addition to our 2020 tree. I'm sure Grandma would not approve, but "Peanut" seems amused. My sister Karen punched designs into the metal ends of frozen juice containers to make ornaments, some of which doubled as gift tags (name & date on the other side)... you can maybe spot a blurry star.
I kick myself every year for my mistake in buying only one of these amazing antique ornaments instead of all three! The blue orb is likely one from my parents' first Christmas tree. You can just see Santa's head peeking in at the bottom -- one of three cross-stitched, jointed ornaments that I made for the girls.
I have a few pewter ornaments -- most of them were my mom's, and maybe this one was, too. I don't remember. We've been watching VIKINGS on TV, though, so there's current meaning, anyway.
There's been talk of removing some/most/all of the Christmas ornaments to make a "Valentine" tree. Again, no movement or mojo!
Just because I haven't mentioned football much (at all?) this year doesn't mean I haven't been watching. We have, of course!! And our Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl hopes were dashed in yesterday's playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Boo.
Well, at least the sun is shining today!
I had some new plants delivered on Friday! I started a new plant subscription with Horti and will have a plant delivered every month until I decide not to. (I actually heard about them first on the AARP* website.) Plants can be purchased individually, in sets, or by subscription, along with related items. Mine came with a cute painted clay pot & saucer, soil, and care directions. I can also specify/choose plants for low light, that are hard to kill or are pet-friendly, or let Horti pick.
Friday was one of the coldest days we've had so far this year, and my Crispy Wave Fern was packed so snug & secure, it did just fine even though no one was there to take it in right away. The tips of maybe two leaves are wilted, but honestly, I really had to look. There are healthy new shoots, and it'll be fun to watch them unfurl. Some of these plants will eventually go into the Airbnb. I have long-term guests there through next month, though, so not yet!
I also ordered a Marimo Kit -- the small one, but those Marimo are BIG! I will definitely order more -- and get a bigger home for them! They're so cool. They are natural "seaweed balls" that are found in freshwater lakes in Japan, Scotland, Iceland, Estonia, and parts of Australia. I love that I have a connection to a couple of those places.
On Saturday, we ran around and looked at some real estate for sale... because. It's a long story and who knows what, if anything, will happen... just know that I love looking at real estate listings (once thought I might become a REALTOR®)! The only thing new is that I'm doing it with a bit more intention and interest than usual... and even hopping in the car to do a drive-by.
Then I did some of that dreaded bookwork that I need to get done SOON... and I will, as soon as I figure out how to scale the brick wall that I've run up against.
Ali usually spends Sunday mornings at the coffee shop working on special projects. They've been closed on Sundays for months -- and even on Mondays for a while. The current project is Valentines... or anti-Valentines...
I finished weaving in all the ends on my MDK House square and need to figure out how to proceed to make it a pillow.
Meanwhile, I started mending another elbow. This time, I picked up stitches and knit a patch that I will then sew down. I realized that I could have made some increases so the patch would match the overall sleeve a little better, but... naaaahhhhhhh.
*Even though Kate says that I can't just choose when I want to be a senior citizen... sometimes I do**! Her tongue-in-cheek comment made one day when I pondered whether to use the reserved parking spot at the store (it was cold). In reality, I almost always park quite far from the door -- it's more important to be closer to a cart return!
**I was very excited the first time I could buy a senior ticket at the movies... I'd gladly pay full price & more right now to safely & comfortably sit in a crowded movie theater again! It came up in my memories yesterday that we'd purchased tickets a few years ago for the Best Picture Festival at our local theater, and it made me sad. Will the Oscars even happen?? (They're planning on it... Sunday, April 25th (Maddy's 30th birthday!))
I had to make a couple of my own! The top photo was taken on the North Shore in November, and I shared it on FB/IG on Wednesday (without Bern) for our anniversary... and then BERNIE happened. I just had to! I also immediately thought of the kids with their chairs in the water when we were in Door County last summer. SO FUN.
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I know that some of you follow Maddy on Instagram and/or were big fans of her Madventures blog back in the day (about four years ago, haha). Well, now she's on a new tack and has started writing a newsletter instead (one, so far) -- if you're interested, click this link to subscribe: The Chook Wife.
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I dunno... intarsia is OK but maybe just not these houses. I enjoyed knitting the Safe At Home houses more. And what I keep thinking about, so must really want to knit from this collection, is the Watercolor Cowl!
Warning: The following photo may cause stress and anxiety.
I have a few more ends to weave in that I should because I sort of forgot about splicing half-way through (I blame Covid).
Can you believe it? There's not a gnome in sight...
Just a quick pic of my current knitting:
It's a bit of a mess and I'm not in love with the color of the house @ top left, but I'm carrying on. I was knitting this pre-Covid and made some modifications of my own -- including color choices, knitting each house's sky in a different color, and adding a narrow border between each row of houses -- and ended up with two charts with scrawled, crossed-out, and scrawled again numbers... so this is a bit of a mash up! It'll be fine.
I did not take any video, but Sarah has posted a couple demonstration videos on YouTube, if you're interested: Part 1 and Part 2.
I have an old slubby cotton cardigan from J.Jill that I wear at home -- it makes up part of my "loungewear" ensemble, along with a night shirt/gown, a pair of cropped pants, socks, slippers, and sometimes a shawl. It used to be in regular daytime rotation, but it would get stretched out and not bounce back (even with heavily ribbed sleeves because... cotton), the big buttons would get caught in the cart at the grocery store and some of the buttonholes are enlarged and it doesn't always stay buttoned, and then I wore a hole in the left elbow. Somehow, it works just fine at home, though, even with flaws.
Hole at left sleeve elbow.
Katrinkles Darning Loom Kit (included, but not shown: soft elastic loop for securing, darning needle, and instructions)
I slipped the circular part inside the sleeve and positioned it so that the hole was pretty centered. The "heddle" part is put into place and it's all secured with a soft elastic band.
Then you warp your little loom! The yarn is anchored at the heddle end, brought between a set of heddle teeth and gently pulled to cover the hole, caught in the "good" fabric just beyond the hole, and brought back up to the heddle... wrap, catch & repeat as needed!
Because this was a pretty big hole, I used a double strand of leftover sock yarn for my patch. After the warp is done, you just catch the yarn in the fabric and begin to weave. It was a last-minute decision on my part to double the yarn, so I ran out and had to cut a new length part-way through. (What's another end to weave in?)
I started weaving from the bottom up, and removed the heddle when I got close. The "live" ends are woven & tacked down, and I did extra stitching and/or weaving wherever needed, using the "eyeball" method. Heh. And here's my first finished patch, front & back. Not too bad!
Admiring my work in the mirror, I noticed that there was a pretty bare spot on the right elbow -- not a hole, but almost, so I decided to fix that right away using a single strand of the same sock yarn.
This time, I began by sewing running stitch along the sides & bottom of the area I wanted to patch to define the edges -- mostly an effort to keep the edges more straight & consistent. It worked okay... it's a little better. I definitely need more practice! I'm sure that using coordinating rather than contrasting yarn would make any wonkiness less visible!
The back-side of the second patch.
Here are both patches (and the cute unicorn scissors that was also part of Kate's gift). I love them!
I have another hole to patch in the other elbow of another favorite J.Jill sweater -- it's smaller than the first one that I patched a few years ago, but too big for the Katrinkles loom. Darn. I really like that sweater for springtime, though, so I'll probably do that soon and use the ham again.
IN OTHER NEWS:
OH HAPPY DAY!! We get to officially welcome our new President and Vice President today!!
I was in Rio de Janeiro eight years ago! Ann & I tried to attend a Cook In Rio class the entire time I was there; thwarted at every turn, for one reason or another, until finally (miraculously), it all came together on the last day before my departure and we made moqueca!
Last weekend, we did a Zoom class with the New Orleans School of Cooking, which was extra fun because we actually visited New Orleans together -- both for the first time -- almost four years ago. She & Brian visited since then and did an in-person class at NOSC, and loved it.
You really do learn a lot about a place -- it's people, history, cultural influences -- when you take a cooking class! (Even if it's virtual.)
Well, this weekend it was a virtual trip (for me) to Lima, when Ann & I got together on Saturday with our instructor, Franco, to make the national cocktail of Peru (& Chile - different recipe) -- PISCO SOUR!
Kate helped me test my Zoom settings from across the room beforehand, so the technology wasn't an issue this time (though I wish the volume would go a little higher on the laptop)!
Ann received her lovely box via courier earlier in the day. It had everything but ice cubes! The pisco, simple syrup, a cocktail shaker, shot glass, limes, and serving glass -- all very festive looking!
My pisco. (My options were very limited!)
We forgot to discuss the differences in the types of pisco with Franco, but I think it has to do with type of grape and variables in the distilling.
Anyway, the Pisco Sour was very good, and we learned some tricks for mixing & serving. (Franco has won a few awards for his Pisco Sour!) I love a lime-y drink (I will never get scurvy), so this was right up my alley... and definitely similarities with Brazil's national cocktail, the caiprinha!
We've mixed a couple other pisco recipes since then -- Andean Sidecar, above, and Count Pisco, a negroni but with pisco instead of gin!
These classes were my birthday present from Ann, and now hers is coming up this Saturday! It took over 2 months for us to get it all together for mine, so I figure I have until the end of March for hers! Haha.
I knit the beard & appendages and made the pom pom last night.
If the weather cooperates, I'll drop him off today on my way home from work.
We're expecting some snow on top of the dreaded "wintry mix" all with the temp right around the freezing mark... could be "fun."
I promise something new next week, and here's a big clue:
This was my Christmas present from Kate! I have at least three sweaters with elbows that need patching, and Ali has a pair of socks. I'm excited to give it a go (and have a few more sweaters back in rotation)!
I bet you thought I was finished with gnomes for a while, and so did I! Then, on Saturday, I went to a drive-by surprise birthday party for my godson/boss who turned an unbelievable 40 years old on Monday (how did that happen?). His Aunt Carol was also in the party parade and she'd previously mentioned on an FB post how much she loved my gnomes, and even offered to pay me to make one...
...and, well, that's not going to happen, but as long as I had the yarn and DPNs handy, I might as well make one for her! This, again, is Susan B. Anderson's Gnome and it's the (true) large version, just as I made for Junah. And, just as the one I made for Jün, it's not weighted right. I can re-weight/-fill him and all will be well. Notes for next time: I don't really like the shape of the body, less all-around round and more like a barrel (so knit fewer rows).
I finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest last night. It was "about" a girl named Eva, and each chapter was a different part of her story -- but she wasn't always central, and there were big jumps in time. I liked it. I'd really like to read The Lager Queens of Minnesota, another book by J. Ryan Stradal. I'm not sure what's next in pages right now (tonight)...
I'm definitely into Hamnet, though my listening time is limited.
For my birthday, Ann wanted to do some sort of online cooking class together, and we finally found something that would work!
We're going to learn to make Pisco Sour -- the national cocktail of Peru -- from Franco, an award-winning mixologist in Lima. The price includes a kit, delivered by courier, with everything you need... unless you live in Wisconsin, and then you're on your own... and hopeful that you can even find pisco! Haha. Some gift, huh?
Well, a hunting I did go, and I found some! I was advised to look for Peruvian pisco, not Argentinian (they're different), and there were two varieties of Peruvian at my go-to liquor store. Naturally, I bought the more expensive one because it had this cool sticker on the back that you viewed through a window on the front... I'm easily enchanted! I did a little research on the website and found that they actually have four varieties, and their Pisco Sour recipes called for a different variety. Awaiting word from Franco...
Meanwhile, Ann sent me an email from the New Orleans School of Cooking and wondered if there was a class there that I'd be interested in. She & Brian had an in-person class there a year or two ago and really liked it. We talked on Saturday and looked over the choices/calendar together and found a class for Meat Pies & Dirty Rice... on Sunday! So we signed up!
I was positively thrilled when the confirmation email triggered a notification on my TripIt app! I got a little "ding-dong" reminder -- something I haven't heard since March!
The shopping list, recipes, and instructions were sent ahead of time, so on Saturday I went shopping. On Sunday, it was all about chopping and measuring for mise en place.
This was my set up for the Meat Pies (puff pastry sheets thawing behind me). I had another tray set up with everything for the Dirty Rice, and all the necessary skillets, pots, and bowls were handy.
I had some technical difficulties, so had the video up on our old laptop but the audio was on my phone (also with video, though, and that was cool because I could see Annie & her set up a little better on my phone while keeping the class feed on the laptop). The last time I used that laptop was for a Zoom class to make my wreath and everything was fine... so I dunno (technology sometimes - ugh!).
The class was 1.5 hours long (we went a few minutes over), limited to 30 participants, and I think we were numbers 26 & 27, so it was pretty full. People from all over, including a group from MN who did it as a Christmas present, which was cool. The instructor was friendly, chatty, knowledgeable, and efficient. Everything was done step-by-step, she gave us options for different ingredients, methods, and presentations.
We got the Dirty Rice going first. Mine is not technically "dirty," as they didn't have chicken livers at the store so I had to sub a chicken thigh (apparently, it's the organ meat that makes it dirty). It's not very picturesque, but oh my goodness, is it tasty!!
The meat pies turned out GREAT! I got a dozen out of the recipe. The class was in the afternoon, so Kate & I split a pie and had a little rice when they were super fresh. We all had same for dinner, and Rusty was warming up some rice this morning to have with an egg for breakfast. I can't wait for lunch today... guess what's on the menu!?!!
As of this morning, I have 9 grandchickens on two continents.
Maddy & Viv have Silver/Gold Laced Winedots (the ginger ones are Viv's) and a Plymouth Rock.
It's a different season in Australia than it is here. Ahhhh, summertime! A garden!
And they love them so much! Maddy's always sending videos... shooing them into their coop when it's time to go to work, or just showing off how cute they are.
Well, this morning, Alison upped the CUTE CHOOK GAME!!
One of these was getting picked on at their former home, so was given to Ali & Rod... and came with a friend! I believe they are Golden Laced Polish.
Lordy, they're gorgeous!
Have a good weekend... take care of yourself and try to keep your blood pressure under control. Wednesday was one helluva a week, huh? I am appalled, sad, angry, disappointed... afraid. 12 more days and he'll be out -- sooner, with any luck!
He's not quite finished -- still needs a pom pom -- and he's far from perfect, but he sure is cute!! This is Sarah Schira'sHere We Gnome Again. Though the pattern has been in my library since its release, this is the first time I've knit it. Heheheh... not the last! Sarah's collection of gnome designs is amazing (and there are others in my library)!
HWGA has options for both fingering weight and worsted weight versions -- this one is worsted. It is/was intended for my sister Ann but, since the earliest I'll likely see her is July, I have plenty of time to try again. The centering of motifs & patterns on this guy is a little off, and I'd like to improve that, and possibly try some different yarn (perhaps some of my own hand-dyed).
In pages, I started Kitchens of the Great Midwest when I was recovering from COVID, and I'm enjoying it -- not blazing through it, but it's going quicker than some!
In audio, I restarted Hamnet the other day... with a bit more focus. I love Ell Potter's narration.
For the first time in memory, there is nothing on my calendar except birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, reminders. As of this moment, I have a "normal" work schedule, and my usual Wednesday day off from now to the end of time. I know that will change, but it's a bit surreal right now to scroll through my calendar... same, same, same, month after month.
I have a lot of bookwork to catch up on for both Ali and myself. I really let that slide in the last half of the year, so that will occupy the bulk of at least my Wednesdays for the next month.
Hopefully, I'll be in pretty good shape by the end of the month because...
I will resume working on my Alabama Chanin June's Spring Car Jacket for (at least) 100 days beginning on January 31st! Here's where I left off... the last photo I took (presumably the last time I worked on it) was May 2nd.
January 31st is far enough in the future that I can get some things done that need to be done (including organizing my workspace), and look forward to it instead of dreading it.